We all know how the interview process goes. Hiring managers would ask questions about one’s job history and experience, maybe a few hypothetical questions here and there, but usually, they would bring out the same questions each time. Some applicants already have templates of what to answer because the questions have become so standard while hiring managers would ask such questions just because it’s part of the list.
As a hiring manager, you must remember what the interview questions are all about and why you ask them – It’s to learn about the candidate’s unique skills, personality, and mindset to see if they make a great fit in the company, role, and team. As such, it’s best to change up your interview a little and use unconventional questions to know more about candidates, receive more candid, honest answers, and maybe relax them a bit.
Of course, these creative interview questions shouldn’t only be a fun form of entertainment and keep a light atmosphere during an interview. Each question must have a purpose! That said, we list down the best creative interview questions you should consider asking during your next hiring process.
Why Ask Creative Interview Questions?
This is like asking why an interview before choosing the best candidate is important. To determine if a candidate is a great fit for a particular role and company culture, hiring managers should ask the right questions. Sure, standard interview questions are essential in the interview process. These will reveal important information!
But you want to dig even deeper than the surface to discover the candidate’s true potential. You can do so through engaging and creative interview questions which reveal their thought process, unique personality, and ability to think on their feet. There are many creative interview questions you can have, and you’ll be surprised to know that they can help candidates relax and perform better.
Types of Creative Interview Questions
Before we get into the creative interview questions to ask candidates, let’s first tackle the different categories based on their purpose.
Think of these as warm-up questions you would ask when you begin the interview. These questions help ease the candidate’s nerves, helping them feel comfortable. It’s also a great opportunity for an interviewer to bond over shared interests or experiences, making an excellent first impression.
Company Culture Questions
These questions will help hiring managers to determine if a certain candidate will fit well in the company culture. For instance, for companies with a team-oriented culture, you may want to ask unique questions to reveal if a candidate values teamwork.
For example, if the team a candidate is applying for are sports fans with a game in the background while working, ask the candidates about their interest in sports. This can show a revealing fit. But again, note that diversity will make a great team, so don’t pass on great hires just because they are not interested in sports!
Creative Thinking Questions
Creativity is a crucial soft skill you’ll want to find in an ideal candidate. As such, you’ll want to ask creative thinking questions to evaluate a candidate’s ability to gain new insights, create innovative solutions, and think outside the box.
Logical Reasoning Questions
Creative interview questions around reasoning can help you discover how a candidate would solve problems and how they work through challenging and unusual issues. While unusual logic problems are enjoyable to answer for analytical jobs, don’t use arbitrary logic problems to select the next hire.
Some jobs need employees to act and think on their feet. Questions like these are great in revealing such attributes. Use and ask questions like these to determine a candidate’s creativity, especially when it comes to out-of-the-box thinking.
Now that we tackled what kind of creative interview questions there are, let’s talk about the specific ones to ask. Continue reading!
The Best Creative Interview Questions
Stop sticking with the same old, everyday interview questions! We understand that those are important questions and that some must be kept but change it up now and then with creative ones. Here are the common interview questions many candidates hear:
· Tell me about yourself.
· Why did you apply for this job?
· Why will you leave your current employer?
· What are your strengths and weaknesses?
· Where do you see yourself in five years?
· Do you have any questions?
Again, these are essential questions, but it’s also best to create ones that are more unique. After all, candidates will go through the interview process a couple of times, hearing the same questions and having similar answers.
If they hear an interview question for the enth time, you’ll probably notice their eyes glazing over and witness them tune out. Not really good as the first impression for them, and you might miss out on top talent if you continue with standard interview questions like these.
As such, it’s best to ask unique questions, like:
What is the best gift you gave someone?
This is a fantastic icebreaker question that reveals a candidate’s personal character and the relationships they have with loved ones. If they open up and talk about a meaningful gift fondly, it shows they value their interpersonal relationships.
Questions like these are great as an icebreaker as they will elicit warm and emotional responses to form a bond with the candidate. It would also share the candidate’s personality, if they are creative, considerate, and thoughtful, among other personality traits.
How would your previous boss describe you?
Ask this question to get a gist of how things went smoothly in the candidate’s previous job. If the candidate responds quickly, it was likely a mutual break. But if you notice some hesitation or even teeth-clenching, it may be best to ask follow-up questions to discover any issues during the candidate’s previous employment.
What is best: Submitting a perfect yet late project or one that’s good but on time?
This is an unconventional question but an interesting one that shows what a candidate prioritizes.
If one were to answer a good and on-time project, it will reveal a candidate understands the importance of meeting deadlines and time management. It will also show that they are confident in their work and won’t spend more time worrying if their work is perfect or good enough.
If you can have one superpower, what would it be and why?
This sounds like an odd question to ask, but you get to learn a lot about the candidate here. There is no right or wrong answer because no matter the superpower chosen, you’re more after the candidate’s critical thinking skills and ability to articulate the reasons they chose that superpower.
Another interesting way to put this question is to ask if one would choose between flying or being invisible. Surprisingly 72% of surveyed leaders would select the ability to fly over invisibility! When you think about it, the question is more of like asking if one would prefer being in the spotlight or behind the scenes.
If you can have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
This will show the skills and qualities candidates admire in others and tries emulating. Moreover, it will reveal one’s core values and the people they like surrounding themselves with. If their answers and values align with that of the company, the candidate might be an excellent cultural fit.
Do you believe you are lucky? Why?
This is a question AirBnB uses to determine if the candidate sees the glass as half-empty or half-full. If a person believes they are lucky, and express gratitude for what they have, then they would most likely have a positive attitude, which is great to have in the workplace.
Explain one concept you know well in under three minutes.
If you are interviewing for a sales position, this is an interesting and creative way to test a candidate’s communication skills. A candidate’s ability to explain something concisely and engagingly shows their potential and sales skills.
You can also ask what the candidate is considered an expert in before you ask them to explain a concept. This will put candidates at ease as people would love to talk about their areas of expertise. It can even show how well-rounded and confident the candidate is and what their passions are beyond work.
What fictional character do you feel you identify with most? Why?
This question will reveal how candidates’ self-awareness and how they see themselves. Candidates with a high degree of self-awareness will understand their strengths and weaknesses.
What are your most-visited websites and why?
A candidate’s favorite websites give you more perspective on what they are like outside the workplace and how they’ll fit into the company culture.
You get more insight on how the candidate spends their downtime, may it be through staying updated with industry trends and world news, learning new languages, or working on side hustles.
Depending on the answer, you can also follow up with another question like, “what is something you learned or read from the website lately?” Asking this will ensure the candidate gave an honest answer.
If you were a crayon, what would your color be? Why?
The candidate’s answer to this question will reveal their creative thinking skill and personality. If you want an innovative new hire, you’ll want to focus on those who share unconventional and out-of-the-box answers.
Share a time you had fun at work.
When companies value fun, social connections, and workplace humor, hiring managers will want someone who fits into that culture. If the candidate will open up and have fun with the question, it can indicate they will fit in, provided they share an appropriate answer!
How would you solve problems if you were on another planet?
This is a creative interview question asked by Amazon! Interestingly, it will help see if a candidate can think outside the box.
Hiring managers will want to see candidates who can demonstrate their problem-solving abilities even under the most bizarre circumstances. The answer can show whether a candidate can enter a whole new workplace environment, fairly evaluating it before they offer solutions.
What are your views on garden gnomes?
This is such a silly question Trader Joe’s asks in their interviews! This is mostly to loosen up candidates and to get a gist of their personality and if they fit within the work culture.
There are no right answers to the question as it depends on the company’s culture and team members’ attitudes. But if a candidate can handle that curveball question, it will show an amazing ability to quickly react even under the oddest circumstances.
You were given an elephant that you can’t give away or sell. What will you do with it?
This is an interesting question that actually helps you get an insight into a candidate’s reasoning skills. Again, there aren’t any right or wrong answers, but you have a better sense of the way a candidate will think, prioritize, and solve problems. Plus, the candidate can loosen up and show a more genuine side!
If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
This is another odd question that tests a candidate’s creativity! But ideally, you will also gain more insight into a candidate’s strengths related to the job position and what type of person he or she is. It doesn’t matter what tree the candidate chooses as long as they use the answer as an opportunity to show why they are a great fit for the company and position.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what two things would you bring with you besides food and water?
Companies like Yahoo ask this question as it encourages candidates to demonstrate more creativity and innovativeness. It will also help you determine the candidate’s priorities.
Someone who answers that they would bring a kindle and laptop will show different values from one who chooses to bring good music and a boat!
There aren’t any right answers here, but you’ll want to focus on candidates who can showcase their ability to think logically and prioritize during tough situations.
How would you design a spice rack for blind people?
The answer will show a lot about how a candidate makes decisions. Maybe your candidate will tell you she wants to interview blind people first and then conduct competitive research before creating a design. That will show you that the candidate values research and analytics.
Or maybe, your candidate would say she will create braille labels on the shelves. That shows the candidate trusts her instincts and creates quick judgment calls. There aren’t particular answers you’re looking for here as it will depend on the kind of person you want to fill the position.
How many pennies can you fit into this interview room?
We like this interesting brain teaser as it will give you the opportunity to see how candidates will use logic to solve challenges that seem impossible.
It’s best to find candidates who would say something along the lines of, “I would have to measure how many pennies will fit in terms of length, width, and height, then multiply those numbers.” Such answers would show that the candidate can use simple math to create formulas for difficult problems.
It would also be interesting if your candidate will ask you questions in return. Maybe she would ask if the room would still have furniture in it or the room’s volume. Answering questions like that will show the candidate thinks outside the box and likes asking second-level questions before they deliver solutions.
Do you believe you are a hunter or gatherer?
This question isn’t just for those hiring anthropologists! You’ll be able to get critical insight into one’s strengths and weaknesses through this quirky question.
For this question, you’ll want the candidate to focus their answer around the position’s qualifications. Hunters and gatherers are very different categories and will help you know what strengths and weaknesses a candidate will likely display in the job position.
Tips on Using Creative Interview Questions
Now that you know what creative interview questions you can ask, you may want to create your own, too! Here are some do’s and dont’s to remember, whether you’re creating questions or during an interview:
· Help the candidates feel more at ease by trying to have fun with them, as levity may help relieve those interview nerves. As such, it can help candidates perform better and reveal more of their authentic selves during interviews.
· Have a purpose for every question you ask whether it’s to break the ice, test their ability to think on their feet, reveal their interests, and the like.
· Evaluate every candidate’s response objectively based on the purpose of the creative interview questions you ask.
· Know the company culture to weave this into the interview questions.
· Get more personal and transparent, selecting questions that encourage honest and unscripted answers.
· Inform the candidates as you transition from a serious to a fun interview question for a more enjoyable time and to receive the best answers.
· Tailor questions to fit the job candidate, conducting preliminary research about them based on their cover letter and resume. This will help ensure your interviews are effective and valid.
· Don’t ask any questions that would make a candidate feel uncomfortable. Think of yourself as a candidate when asking your question. If it feels out-of-line, don’t ask it!
· Do not ask questions that are discriminatory, appropriate, or reference the candidate’s protected class information, such as age, gender, ethnicity, or race, among others.
· Do not ask strange or silly questions sporadically throughout the interview. This would have you appear unprofessional and disorganized.
Wrapping It Up
Are your interview questions feeling stale and do you want to hire more creative talent? Then it’s time to use the creative interview questions above, adding inventiveness to the hiring process. That way, you get to learn more about a candidate’s ingenuity and personality than the standard interview questions don’t show.
We hope our list of the best creative interview questions helped you out! If you would like to learn more about the hiring process and how to improve your current one, check out what more we have to offer here at HireNest.