Top 3 Interview Questions Candidates Are Not Expecting

There are some interview questions that you ask every candidate. Tell me about your current role. Why are you looking to make a change? There are those questions, and then there are the unexpected questions. With the unexpected questions, you get a candid feel for the candidate’s unrehearsed, true self.

I was once asked in a job interview, If you were a new R&B album, what would your title be? That question allowed me to connect with the interviewer over music. These are the types of unexpected questions that go above and beyond “sell me this pen.” Master the unexpected, and you’ll get a great feel for the real candidate every time.

3 Unexpected Job Interview Questions

Can you share a story about yourself that speaks to your core values?

Identifying your core values is an important step in gauging whether the work that you do is in alignment with who you are. Candidates with a few successful years under their belt will likely have undergone some type of personal growth or leadership training, whether self-taught or in a more formal setting. This question allows you to gauge how much training they’ve had, and where they are in that process.

How self-aware is your candidate? Has he or she given any thought to their core values? If so, what are they?

Core values are what drive and motivate people. At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel successful. If you can match a candidate with a job where the company’s values are in alignment with the candidate’s, it will be a win-win situation for everyone involved.

What role does social media play in your selling process?

Social media is playing an increasingly important role in every company’s sales process. At FloodGate, we were recently recognized as being one of the most socially engaged staffing companies on LinkedIn. In our business, LinkedIn plays an important role in the recruiting process, so we make it a priority to be active on that platform.

Asking this question will not only help you match the candidate’s skills with the right job, it will also give you an idea of how creative they are willing to get in order to get touch with the right person.

Let me illustrate this point with a story I heard about the other day. A public relations professional was having trouble getting in touch with a journalist that she really wanted to connect with for a news story about her company. When traditional methods failed, the PR specialist followed the journalist on Twitter, and noticed that the journalist kept posting pictures of her dog. After liking a few posts, the PR specialist Tweeted a photo of a dog in a bike basket to the journalist and made a comment about the journalist’s dog. This was the warm introduction that was needed, they connected, and the PR specialist got their story. How will your candidate go above and beyond using social media? Ask this question to find out.

Have you ever been on a losing streak? How did you turn things around?

Everyone has ups and downs in their career. It’s the successful candidates who get back up. Asking this question will not only give you an idea of how resilient your candidate is, it will also give you insight into how he or she handles conflict.

If the candidate is solution-minded, he or she will tell you how they got out from the situation. If he or she is a complainer or paints a picture where they are the victim, that gives you great insight. In particular, sales careers can have highs and lows. Great sales people need to be resilient.

Are you a recruiter who’s having a tough time filling a position? We’d love to be a resource for you. Contact us to learn more.