Interview Questions that every Employer Should (and shouldn't) be asking.

We’ve all had at least one in our career pathway. I’m talking about the interview that you think is going brilliantly until the interviewer asks one of those questions. Something like “If you were an animal what would you be?”. Um, Really? Or “Why is a tennis ball fuzzy?” Honestly, I don’t even know how to answer that. Obscure or zany questions may look fun on paper, but rarely do they produce a useful answer. Worse still are the obnoxious ones such as “With so many candidates why should I hire you?”. You are not Alan Sugar and this isn’t The Apprentice. Commencing any employer /candidate relationship from a point of fear and intimidation is a sure-fire way to make it sour very quickly.

The aim of every interview is to find the candidate with the right combination of character, qualities, skills and expertise that will elevate your team to the next level. Here’s how Google puts it:


“Other companies screen for intelligence and experience in potential recruits.

But Google also looks for “Googliness”

– a mashup of passion and drive that’s hard to define but easy to spot.” 


Whatever your “-ness” is, you need to ask the right questions to find out if your candidate has it. Challenging and uncommon questions can be fun for the candidate to answer and give you a real insight into how they tick. Open-ended questions mean there is no right or wrong, and the most telling part is how they arrive at their answer. Here are sixteen of the best to get the most out of the interview process :


Questions to assess Culture fit


  • What is the most interesting thing about you that is not on your CV?
  • What was the last gift you gave someone?
  • Describe a perfect day.
  • What are you known for?
  • If someone wrote your biography, what would the title be?
  • If you could have dinner with anyone from history who would it be?
  • Who do you most admire and why?
  • How would your current team describe you?

Questions about Behaviour


  • How would your current manager describe you?
  • Describe a complex problem you solved and how.
  • Describe a situation you should have handled differently.
  • Describe a professional risk you have taken.
  • Have you created anything from scratch?
  • Describe a work situation where there was interpersonal conflict. How did you manage it?
  • Describe an occasion where your team disagreed with you. How did you persuade them?
  • What is the most stressful situation you have ever encountered?

Don’t forget, an interview is as much of a fact-finding mission for you as it is an opportunity for the candidate to show themselves in the best light. Use this time well and it could produce great results for you and your team.

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