9 Unexpected Interview Questions to Reveal a Candidate’s Qualities


Most job seekers hear the same questions repeated at every interview. 

“Why do you want to work for our company?” 

“Describe a time you overcame a challenge.” 

These are good questions, but your candidates see them coming, which means you won’t learn much from their answers. To find the right fit every time and avoid the need to advertise the same jobs over and over, you want to dive deeper. 

You learn the most about a potential candidate when you ask them questions that unwittingly reveal their behaviors. 

Why New and Exciting Questions Reveal Candidate’s True Personality 

No one wants canned answers. They don’t say anything about you as an employer, and they say even less about the candidate. Moreover, no one listens to the answer when you ask questions that beg the same repetitive answers. 

Instead, everyone benefits from a process known as behavioral interviewing. 

Behavioral interview questions reveal a candidate’s personality and values to give you more to work with when considering them for your team. These questions are different from the standard “why us” questions and instead require the candidate to answer personally and creatively. 

9 Unexpected Interview Questions to Learn More About Your Candidates 

Without further ado, here are nine examples of questions to ask every candidate: 

  1. “What do you like about your current manager? What would you ask them to improve?” 
  2. “How would your last boss describe you? How would your coworkers describe you?” 
  3. “How do you prefer to learn?” 
  4. “What animal would you be? Why?” 
  5. “Share a time you failed at something. How did you feel? What happened next?” 
  6. “What bugged you most about your last job?” 
  7. “When we ask one of your references about your weaknesses, what would they say?” 
  8. “How did you prepare for this interview?” 
  9. “Why have you had x jobs over the past y years?” 

Each of these questions requires more than a standard answer. The responses tell you how the candidate would fit into your current environment. 

For example, question #1 instantly tells you whether they are a good fit for their potential manager, which quickly weeds out candidates who won’t thrive in the role. 

Question #4 shows signs of thoughtfulness and playfulness. If they can’t answer the question, it causes you to wonder about their creativity. If they don’t answer, you might wonder why they’re obstinate. If you get some weird answers, those can be warning signs, too. 

Are You Asking the Right Questions? 

Do you find yourself unable to decide between seemingly identical candidates? Perhaps you’re not asking the right questions. Using unexpected behavioral questions forces candidates to think on their toes and reveals real differences you might not see by asking them why they ‘think they’re a good fit. 

At Energi Personnel, we use creative and innovative solutions to present prospective candidates in a three-dimensional way so you can make the right choice every time.