Too often, employers get a performance in job interviews. This can create a gap between what was expected or anticipated to happen and what actually does once someone is put on payroll. To avoid “hiring remorse” try these more outside-of-the-box interview questions the next time you are ready to onboard an employee.
“Tell me about a time when you admitted to yourself or someone else that you didn’t know something. How did it turn out?”
A recent podcast from the Freakonomics team used this question as an indicator for honesty that could potentially impact the culture of your entire business. The fact is, candidates often script or even fib in their interviews to create a perception of perfection—which we all know is simply not true. Freakonomics founders, Steven Levett and Stephen Dubner, submit that the three hardest words in the English language are “I don’t know.” People are simply terrified of admitting they may not know a solution, even if it is a problem for which they would have no base knowledge. Instead of challenging the candidate to find weakness, open the floor to the fact that he/she has probably experienced this before, and allow him/her to expand. Furthermore, admitting that you don’t know something while in a job will create understanding and time to actually find the best solution.
“If you could sing one song on American Idol what would it be?”
This is a question commonly posed in interviews conducted by Red Frog Events in Chicago. This is a great question because it is two-fold. People traditionally have deep ties to music, which reveals their philosophy and beliefs. From there, you can deduce how a candidate would contribute to the culture of your company, and if he/she is aligned with your company’s philosophy. Secondly, since you can assume the song is one of their favorites, there is most likely a story attached to it of some kind. This is a great way to specifically garner some information that you would usually get from the traditional, “Tell me a little about yourself” question, or bypass small talk.
“If you could do one thing, knowing that it would not fail, what would that one thing be?”
This again reveals passion, but is also a great way to harvest what your potential employees strengths and weaknesses are. For example, if they respond with, “start a non-profit that feeds homeless children,” then he/she most likely has a heart for service, event planning and operation, or likewise may have a weakness in those things or not be sure how to compose technical writing for something like a grant. Therefore, follow up with, “Why did you choose that, and what would you need to do to practically to ensure that it did not fail?”