#Human Resources #Recruitment & Hiring #Employer

Unusual Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Mohamad Danial bin Ab. Khalil
by Mohamad Danial bin Ab. Khalil
Dec 08, 2020 at 10:05 AM

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Unusual interview questions can test a candidate’s ability to go with the flow or fit in well with your organisation, but each interview question still needs to have a purpose and not just for fun.

Before we check out examples of unusual interview questions, let's see the do's and don'ts of these unique interview questions.


How to use unusual interview questions

Unusual interview questions are standard practice in large corporations such as Amazon and Tesla, but you should avoid misusing these questions. Use these guidelines to protect your company and the candidate:


Don’ts for unusual interview questions

  • Don't ask questions that make your candidates feel uncomfortable.
  • Don't ask questions that are inappropriate, discriminatory or reference a candidate’s protected class information (gender, race, ethnicity, age, etc.).
  • Don't ask strange or silly questions unannounced throughout the interview (this makes you look unprofessional and unorganised).

Do’s for unusual interview questions

  • Try to have some fun with candidates (levity can relieve interview nerves, helping candidates perform better and reveal more fit factors in interviews).
  • Your questions must have its purposes (breaking the ice, testing a candidate’s ability to think on their feet and revealing interests).
  • Evaluate candidate responses objectively against the purpose of the questions you ask.
  • Tell candidates before you go from serious interview questions to fun ones so that they can have a pleasant interview and you can get the right kind of answers.


Ice breaker questions

Ice breaker questions help candidates relax at the beginning of interviews, give them a chance to warm up their communication skills and give them a fun first impression. These questions are also an excellent way to test for culture fit and general candidate attitudes.

Use these questions to help candidates warm-up at the start of interviews and to give them a taste of your company’s culture.

  • What fictional character do you identify the most with? Why them?

  • If you were stuck on a deserted island (and had all the food, water and shelter you needed) what three personal items would you bring?

  • If you could go to any country where would you go and why?

  • What was the last gift you got for somebody?

  • If you were a superhero, who would you be? Did you choose this character because you are like them or because they are who you aspire to be?

  • What language do you wish to learn? Why?

  • Would you rather ride a giraffe or an elephant to work? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your chosen method of transportation?

Job interviews don't have to be boring.

Company culture questions

These questions can help you identify fit in candidates and make your company a standout opportunity for the people you interview.

For instance, if the team you’re hiring for are all sports fans and always have a game on in the background, asking candidates about their interest in sports can be useful for revealing fit. On the other hand, remember that diversity makes strong teams, and you should never pass on great hires just because they dislike something popular.

These questions will help you find culture fit in your candidates or to help you design unique culture questions of your own.

  • Do you come to work to work, or do you like to socialise along the way?

  • What motivates you to work in this industry?

  • Tell me about a time when a job/company felt like a bad fit for your personality and why.

  • Tell me about a time when you felt like a hero at work.

  • Tell me about a time when you were part of a team that was fun to work with. How did you balance productivity and fun with your colleagues?

  • Tell me about the most unique company event or outing you’ve ever participated in. What made it so different, and did you have fun?


Creativity questions

Some roles require candidates to be creative or quick on their feet. These curveball interview questions can reveal these qualities in candidates. Use these questions to assess the candidate's creativity for roles that depend on “outside-the-box” thinking.

  • Name three uses for a stapler other than stapling.

  • Do you think zombies should be slow or fast? Why?

  • If you have to rebrand this company for the _________ industry, what would the headline of the press release be?

  • How would you describe your company’s office building to a person who is unable to see?

  • Describe the goal of this job to an alien.

  • How would you pitch this company to a friend?


Problem-solving questions

Logic problems can be fun for analytical jobs, but don’t use an arbitrary logic problem to hire your next employee. Use these questions to test the general reasoning ability of candidates, the way they solve problems and their ability to work through unusual and challenging situations.

  • Let's say you have a 3-litre bucket and a 5-litre bucket, how do you measure exactly 4 gallons?

  • If you receive a 20% raise at the end of your first year and now make RM 78,000/year, what was your starting salary?

  • You face two doors and two guards. One door leads to doom, the other, to ice cream! One of the guards only tells the truth, the other only lies (and you don’t know who’s who). You have to choose the right door, but you can only ask 1 question of one guard. What do you ask the guards to choose the right door?


Big picture questions

Asking unique big picture questions shows you how a candidate can relate to your company as an employer and displays their ability to think in a big picture. Use these questions to show you how your candidates relate to and see the big picture of your company.

  • If you were the CEO of this company, what would your 5-year plan be?

  • If you were interviewing me for my job, what would you want to know about me?

  • If you had an unlimited budget, what innovation would you want to create in this industry?

  • How could AI potentially change this industry?

  • What do you think our industry is going to look like in 10 years? Will it still exist?

  • If you have RM20 million to help solve a world problem, what problem would you choose, and how would you contribute to the solution?


These question might seem unusual and weird for some, but they are also fun and helps to ease the mood. These questions also have their purposes that will help you decide which candidate to hire. 

Source: Lever

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