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Has the time come to shake up your interview questions?

Written by Kimberley Startup | June 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

InterviewWeird interview questions may be almost as old as job interviewing itself, but they arise from a sincere desire on the part of those recruiting staff to find out more about what their prospective recruits are truly like – something that we can only endorse here at Webrecruit (

The fact that entire books have been released on the subject of tough interview questions indicates that candidates are continually getting smarter at providing stock answers to the most predictable questions.

While you’ll inevitably always need to ask questions about competencies and experience during the staff recruitment process, there’s only so much that can be learned from such time-worn posers as “Why do you want to work here?” and “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Questions like the above remain important, but in the actual job environment, an individual’s true values and characteristics will be more evident than can ever be the case in pre-prepared answers. This makes it important to compose questions that force more instinctive responses from candidates.

Adding a more light-hearted element to the interview can draw out unexpected and creative replies, but can also make interviewees more at ease and comfortable and likely to accept the job if they are offered it.

Simply asking the candidate to tell you a joke, for example, can serve as a good icebreaker and help to bring out their personality, while asking them to choose between red and blue could also force them to give a more ‘down to earth’ response that does not fit any of their pre-prepared answers.

Other unusual questions that those using recruitment companies like Webrecruit could ask include “If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?” This question tends to appeal to the geekier side of your candidate. Then, there are the questions that relate more obviously to the world of work – such as “If you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?”

That latter question may seem like an attempt to trick the candidate into ranting, but is actually more likely to cause the candidate to merely carefully reflect and be self-critical. Many interviewers in companies trying to recruit staff will also ask the candidate to say how their existing manager would describe them – another question for which what is not said in response can be as telling as what is.

It is possible to make mistakes when you experiment with such less conventional interview questions, and any line of inquiry that has the potential to cause embarrassment ought to be firmly avoided.

However, whatever the outcome, you will at least learn lessons from the process, both about the candidate and for the next interview – not something that could be said of less adventurous techniques.

Contact the recruitment experts at Webrecruit ( for more assistance with finding your next candidate.

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