Most hiring managers and recruiters are focused on using behavioral interview questions but we also like to mix in some different types of questions to get a better sense of how candidates think on their feet, deal with adversity, and see themselves fitting into (and helping shape) the organization's future. Here are 5 of our favorites:
1. What is one misconception people have about you?
The magic lies within the brutally honest responses that follow. This question is designed for the applicant to paint you a picture of what they are not. The reality is that there seldom are any misconceptions. Other people’s perceptions of someone are usually pretty accurate as they are formed on observed behavior and actions witnessed. Furthermore, candidates are generally honest in their responses, because, after all, they are describing perceptions that they think are not true.
2. What is a development area, a deficit, or a gap that you’ve had to overcome or improve in your career? How was that identified, and what did you do to improve?
It offers a chance to learn how someone deals with self-realization, self-actualization, and potentially how they overcome obstacles or adversity.
3. When have you experienced stellar customer service, and how did that change how you deal with customers?
This question is a great way to see how candidates define “stellar customer service” — not just as they experience it, but also in the service they expect themselves to provide.
4. If you we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great 12 months its been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?
This will show how much research they put into both the company and the role they are applying for. Being able to describe what you will do for the business confidentially shows much enthusiasm.
5. What is your superpower?
This type of question is asked to see how well they think on their feet and if they can be creative. These kinds of questions are also used to see if a candidate has a good sense of humor, a very desirable trait when you have to work with someone 5 days a week.
6. Tell me something about yourself that others may be surprised to know about you.
This question is an opportunity to learn something exciting and real about a candidate that might otherwise not come up in a standard interview.
7. Describe your favorite supervisor and your least favorite supervisor – and why.
This allows some fast insight into how the candidate likes to be communicated with and managed, as well as some revelations into overall attitude and maturity.
8. What was the best thing about your last job?
Answering this question requires candidates to assign a value to an experience they had in their last job. What they choose can tell you a lot about who they are as a person and what kind of new job is going to make them happy. It will also allow you to assess whether or not this job is likely to have any of those attributes in common. You are looking for candidates who loved something about their last job that they can also like about the new job–similar tasks and goals, overlapping client or industry base, a comparable team dynamic, etc.
9. What did you like least about your former job?
Candidates will have the chance to trash their former employers or take the high road, and which option they choose will reveal a lot about how they will approach their work at your company.
Even if a candidate is coming from the worst job in the world, a prospective hire with poise and a positive attitude will be able to answer this question productively and highlight either their understanding of complex problems within the industry or their ability to overcome challenges. Candidates without those skills will take the opportunity to throw their employer, coworkers, or customers under the bus, and you’re better off knowing that before you hire them.
10. Based on what you know about your company/department/team, what changes would you make if you were in charge?
Top performers likely have the skills, drive, and ability to help drive your business forward. They may also be able to pick up on inefficiencies, potential issues, and problems that could be holding your business back. Moreover, for someone whom you might hire for a leadership position, you need to be able to determine if he or she has the skills to identify and solve real problems.
11. What is your least favorite thing about humanity?
It’s a great way to change the pace of an interview completely and make a candidate really think.
While it is an odd question to ask in an interview, it can yield brilliant, really insightful responses. It forces a candidate to show you a little of their personality and present a reasoned response to a very valid question that sits way outside the traditional comfort zone.
12 What did you do to prepare for this meeting today?
The candidate prepared for the interview can indicate a lot not only about his or her interest in the job, but about how this person operates as a professional.
If a candidate can share only platitudes about his or her preparation for something as important as a job interview, that speaks volumes about how this person will prepare for important tasks, meetings, roles, etc. when he or she has the job.
13. Before you came in, I looked at the mission and vision from your current (or past) company. What is it in your own words?
Asking a candidate about the mission and vision from their current or most recent employer can provide a few insights into your potential candidate. First, do they even know the answer? Second, if they do, are they able to relate what the company does to that mission and vision, showing big-picture thinking?
14. You walk into your office and have 50 emails and 14 voicemails before your day has even started, all with different urgent requests. What do you do?
This way, you get to hear how they think about the problem from top to bottom.
15. What blogs and resources do you follow online to keep up with the industry?
I like to understand if they are keeping up to date with the leading resources online to know what is happening in the Senior Living Industry.
Senior Living Recruiting is what we do.
LM Hurley & Associates Executive Recruiting