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9 Killer Interview Questions to Pull Your Candidate Off-Script

Try one of these killer interview questions to get a genuine response from your candidate

Everyone should have a few unusual interview questions that get under the surface, force your candidate off-script, and tell you if they'll be a good fit for your business.

It can be tough to get to know a candidate you're interviewing - especially when you're asking them the same tired questions and they're giving you their standard rehearsed answers. I've always had my go-to questions, but thanks to some tech CEO friends I met recently, I've accumulated a small arsenal of brilliant and unconventional questions that will really shake up your next interview.

So here they are for you to take your pick - my favourite killer interview questions.

What makes you tick?

This one is great because it is gloriously vague! It encourages people to show their true self (even if they don’t mean to).

What do you need to know to work out whether you can work with me?

This question gets them to reveal any concerns they might have about working with you. And you'll quickly find out how much research they've done into you and the business.

What is it we should be doing better?

While it's nice to be flattered and hear that you're doing everything perfectly, that's not going to help your business improve.

You should want your employees to help you identify areas that aren't working well and offer ideas for improvement. In this scenario, even if your candidate doesn't get the job, it can't hurt to get their take on what you could be doing better.

What have you learned about yourself in the last five years?

This shows personal growth and introspection. It can also be quite revealing!

Name a time you made a big mistake and what you learned from it.

This is a great way of finding people who have a growth mindset.

What have you done to help someone else succeed?

This will give you a glimpse into how they work with others. Are they a team player? Do they care about the big picture and helping their colleagues, whether or not they get 'credit' for it?

How do you feel about vulnerability?

This is a good one if you like psychoanalysing people!

Roleplay: Show your hustle

Get the interviewee to hustle their way onto a flight to New York for a make-or-break meeting they simply can’t miss.

Salespeople: Tell me about your best deal

If it’s all about commission and money, rather than the impact on the customer or business, then maybe they’re not for you.

And lastly, here are two questions you should ask yourself after the interview:

  • Would I trust this person to say something sensible in a client meeting?
  • Would I go to the pub with this person?

How can we help?

Do you need some help with your interviewing skills? Or with attracting, converting and onboarding star talent? Book tickets to our upcoming executive training session this summer. At these comprehensive, workshop-style sessions, you will hear about the most common mistakes hiring managers make and how to rectify them, and learn tried and tested methods of attracting, hiring, and onboarding star talent. Find out more.

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Author: Alice Weightman

As Founder and CEO, Alice established Hanson Search in 2002 and has since gained a reputation as one of the leading search professionals in senior appointments across communications, developing an incredible network globally.

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