In this blog post, we are looking at unique interview questions and answers for both interviewer and candidate.
From the perspective of a candidate, these questions and answers will help you prepare well for an interview that separates your average candidates from the exceptional.
From the perspective of an employer, you’ll discover unique questions that reveal true characteristics and skills from candidates, selecting the best person for the role.
Importance of preparation for an interview
An interview needs to be prepared properly from both the candidate and employer perspective. By understanding the other’s role and perspective you’ll get the most out of your interview.
What are employers looking for?
Within interviews, candidates are screened for their ability to demonstrate their capabilities to perform the role. But more so, to see which candidate is the most pragmatic, efficient and able to perform well under pressure.
Below is a list of qualities and skills candidates are tested for in interviews:
1. Content Skills
Content skills are skills that are work-specific. These include capabilities to meet the demands of the role, qualifications, training, etc.
2. Functional Skills
Functional skills are otherwise known as transferable skills. These are skills such as Interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication skills, organizing, managing, developing, multitasking, problem-solving etc.
3. Adaptive Skills
Adaptive skills are also known as Self-Management skills. These are based on personal characteristics such as being a team player, dependable, proactive, punctuality, flexibility etc.
What type of questions employers should ask to get the best person for the role
Interview questions that are unique and unexpected can catch candidates off guard. This reveals their most likely reaction to a problem, which can be analysed against the likely scenarios of the role. From there, employers can build a profile of the candidates’ character and personality.
Getting unique interview questions right
Many recruiters may follow the likes of Amazon, Google and Tesla known in the tech industry for asking weird and wild interview questions. But there is a fine line between unique interview questions with a purpose and just plain daft questions.
You don’t want to come across as unprofessional, offensive or unorganized by asking unique questions that don’t serve a purpose. With each of your interview questions, there needs to be a clear goal of determining traits and skills from candidates answers.
Carefully selecting interview questions for the specific job role is equally as important. Avoid putting prime candidates in unfair positions by asking confusing and out of place questions that would be impossible for them to demonstrate any desired qualities.
A great rule of thumb is to follow the below tips:
- Never ask questions that are inappropriate, discriminatory or make your candidate feel uncomfortable.
- Put your weird and unique questions in order. Using them randomly and unannounced throughout the interview can come across as random and confusing to candidates.
- Inform candidates before you introduce fun questions so they can relax and answer them more efficiently.
- Have a purpose with each unique question by asking behaviour-based interview questions. e.g testing their ability to think on their feet.
- Evaluate candidate answers against your intended purpose.
Behaviour-based interview questions
Behaviour-based interview questions are designed to focus on the abilities, actions and behaviours of the candidates to perform their roles over any other factors.
Why ask behaviour-based interview questions?
Behaviour-based interview questions allow the candidate to demonstrate through the use of examples their abilities, experiences, knowledge and skills to showcase to interviewers they’re the right candidate for the role. These types of questions allow recruiters to make more accurate hiring decisions as there is less tendency to sway in favour of subjective impressions which focus on personal opinions and feelings.
By analysing past behaviours you can more accurately predict future behaviour and therefore performance.
An example of behaviour-based interview questions would be, “describe how you behaved when ….” instead of asking a candidate to describe how they would behave in a certain situation.
Interviewers will have a list of desired behaviours needed to qualify for the job. Recruiters will collect and evaluate these desired behaviours from the candidate’s answers and check them off their list.
Tips for candidates answering unique questions
You can’t prepare for all possible interview questions that may arise, especially unique ones. But what you can do in your preparation is to think about your traits and use examples of how you demonstrated them in past jobs or life situations.
The technique you use to face any unique and unexpected question your way is the key to showing off your best abilities.
Candidate answer techniques for Behaviour-based questions
When answering a behaviour-focused question, candidates must strive to answer using the acronym PAR (Par for the Course). This begins with P for Problem, by describing your story with a problem. Then A for Action, then what your particular action was to rectify the problem. R for Results, this is the final outcome of the situation.
Work from the job description
When practising for your job interview, take a moment to analyse the job description. Use the job description to work out why the specialised skills listed are required by the employer.
Then analyse yourself. Think of past experiences and scenarios where you used the specialist skills required in the job description.
With this practice technique, no matter what the recruiter throws at you, you’ve got an example of a real-time scenario you can use to demonstrate ideal role characteristics or skills. And remember, the recruiter is using behaviour-based questions to figure out how you think and to get sneaky glimpses of your personality.
Unique interview questions and answers that shine a light on candidate traits, attitude and skills.
Without further ado. Let’s get into our list of unique interview questions and answers. The examples below are just ways to get you thinking about the kinds of questions that could be asked in an interview.
1. Can you instruct us on how to make a paper aeroplane using just words- no actions.
The goal of this question is to assess candidates ability to describe and instruct simple actions. A great question for a managerial position.
The candidate should display clear and concise instruction to demonstrate to recruiters their ability to visualise and communicate clearly.
2. What would you name the title of your autobiography?
Recruiters are looking for creativity as well as your personality.
A candidate really needs to focus on selecting a title that demonstrates their best quality. For example, if a candidate reflected on their growing and learning experiences to shape their life in a suitable title format.
3. How many tennis balls can you fit into a Boeing 747 aeroplane?
This seems like a silly question at first glance as it doesn’t relate to the candidate or the job position. But actually, it’s a clever question, as the recruiter is looking to see how you use logic under pressure. So don’t worry about whether the answer you give is right or wrong. Candidates should clearly explain and talk to the recruiter through the process of how they decide their answer.
4. Which colour would you add to a crayon box?
The recruiter is looking to see your creativity and attitude through this question. Colours often represent personality types. Red indicates boldness, blue indicates passiveness. So research colour and personality links and choose a colour that suits the personality trait needed for the role.
5. Have you ever been in a boat?
This weird question is not about the recruiter’s interest in maritime transport, but more of an indication of the candidates’ traits. The goal here is to see how candidates deal with closed questions. Do they respond with a simple yes or no? Or does the candidate go into detail revealing details about their attitude and personality?
6. How can accidents be avoided?
Recruiters here are analysing candidates logic and foresight abilities as well as problem-solving. Candidates should identify potential risks and implement corrective measures with examples to demonstrate behavioural-based answers.
7. If your house caught on fire, aside from loved ones, what three things would you save?
The recruiter uses this question to have insight into the candidates’ priorities and what they value.
Candidates should answer in a way that makes them look like they have their priorities in order, however, it’s ok to add a fun item as it shows personality and reveals a bit of their personal life too. You want to come across as relatable as well as sensible.
8. Your inbox has 1000 emails on Monday morning, you only have time to answer 100. Which do you choose first?
The recruiter is using this to see what candidates prioritise in their job roles. Are they customer-focused, or do they work periodically?
The answer the candidate gives indicates a personality type also. It’s important for candidates to know and understand the company values as preparation for the interview. For a customer service organisation, candidates should focus on the most important customer emails as a priority.
9. Tell me how you would design a spice rack for blind people
The recruiter is looking at candidate answers here to determine how they make decisions. Do they make fast decisions, or do they take their time?
Ideally, candidates should demonstrate they can problem-solve with a practical process that relates to the role in question.
For instance, if they said they want to conduct market research first by speaking with blind people, they demonstrate the importance of research.
10. Why are manholes round?
While this question seems random, recruiters are able to indicate the candidate’s intellect from the way they answer.
For example, a candidate could answer by saying a round manhole can be quickly operated by removing and placing it easily. While a square cover could fall through the hole if tipped upright and placed diagonally, increasing risk to injury and damage.
This type of answer demonstrates candidates ability to think logically and problem-solve in necessary situations.
There are so many weird and unique interview questions and answers to determine the character and personality traits of candidates.
We have just touched upon the surface of types of questions recruiters should ask. With a highly competitive world for both job seekers and recruiters, interviews are transforming to challenge and discover talent in more creative ways.
Candidates think about this
For candidates facing unique interview questions, and are struggling to think of the right answer, remember this…
There is no one right answer. The intention of unique interview questions is to give the recruiter insight into the type of person you are, and what strengths you can bring to the role.
So demonstrate out-of-the-box thinking, use personality, your personal skills and logic to answer questions. Let your creative thoughts flow in and express them clearly and confidently.
Acknowledge questions, pause to think, then deliver concisely. Even if your answer is gibberish or silly, your ability to communicate effectively, deal with pressure, and even laugh at yourself will be analysed too. Your composure and attitude when answering a strange question may be the deciding factor for the position, over a candidate who answered the question with more logic than you. It’s all about the qualities the role requires of you, and focus on demonstrating that you’re the best fit for the role.
We hope you enjoyed our post on unique interview questions and answers. And remember recruiters, think of unique interview questions carefully and determine if they are suitable for the role. Ensure all candidates are asked the same questions in the same order to achieve structure and fairness when recruiting. Remember to look for the traits and characteristics in candidate answers that will be suitable for the role.
Good luck. May the best candidate get the job!
For candidates who want to know how they performed in their last interview, take a look at our post on how to know if an interview was successful.