3 Non-Standard Questions Recruiters Should Ask During Job Interviews

Job interviews are stressful enough — both for interviewers and candidates. What makes things even worse are boring, trite questions like “Why do you consider our company?” or “Where do you see yourself in the next five years?” Questions like these were fresh about a decade ago, but now, they have turned into ridicule.

Still, questions are an essential part of any job interview because the answers can tell a lot about the person you’re talking to. Of course, to get comprehensive answers, recruiters should start with the right questions. What are those? Take a look at our list of questions below.

#1 How do you spend your free time?

This may seem unorthodox, but the answer to that can give a very detailed character sketch of your potential candidate. First, it throws people off guard, so you can see right away how this person deals with out-of-the-box scenarios.

Next, it shows how active a person is in real life. Consider this: if a candidate starts mumbling about TV shows or going out with friends, this applicant is probably not the most active or motivated person in this world. We do not imply that there is something wrong with TV or friends (we all do that, right?). Still, people who lead an active lifestyle and try to develop themselves in different life spheres would rather mention their hobbies than Netflix and pubbing habits.

The type of hobby also matters a lot. People into team sports, quite expectedly, make great team players in a professional environment. Introverted candidates who are into solitary hobbies (photography, art, knitting) may not play great with others but often have a creative vibe and out-of-the-box thinking.

Also, remember that there is no right answer to this question. It will all depend on the position you need to fill and the qualities you are interested in for that job opening.

#2 What is your proudest professional achievement?

The question itself is not new, but it can still help recruiters see how candidates evaluate their successes. Here, the best tip is to get acquainted with the applicant’s job history. Most likely, you have already done your research — either on LinkedIn or with specialized recruiting tools like SignalHire. So, you have some idea about this person’s professional achievements.

Now, it’s time to hear what the candidates see as their best moments. For example, a recruiter can expect a story about independently boosting sales by 50%. However, the candidate may be most proud of some other project — because it was most creative, or because it required most teamwork, etc. In this case, make sure to ask applicants why this moment gives them so much pride.

Alternatively, you can also ask about the worst moment — but only after you’re done with the best. By itself, this question does not make much sense because very few people will give an honest answer to that. But, as a follow-up question after the ‘proudest moment,’ it can bring more insight into the applicant’s personality. Most likely, because ‘best-worst’ order like this offers candidates a chance to give a humorous reply.

#3 Where do you see this industry in the next few years?

Instead of asking people about where they see themeless in the next five years, ask about industry trends and its prospects. For starters, it will give you a chance to evaluate candidates’ professional expertise. If a person can clearly see the latest trends, analyze them, and adequately predict future development, this person is most likely a real pro. It takes strong analytical skills and a good grasp on reality to give a simple yet comprehensive answer to this question.

Besides, when people are talking about future industry trends, it’s not that hard for a recruiter to figure out how these candidates see their future. So, it’s essentially two questions rolled into one. But, the one you ask does not sound trite or boring.

Wrapping Up: Do you have any questions for me?

This one, of course, is very standard. But, that is still the best way to wrap up an interview. It clearly shows candidates that a recruiter is done with the ‘interrogation’ part. Now, applicants can start asking questions of their own. Needless to say, the questions recruiters hear during this final interview part also say a lot about prospective employees. People focusing on finances will ask about salaries, ads-on, vacation leaves, and other perks. Candidates who are more interested in the process rather than in the money they earn will ask about company operations, team members, plans for the future, etc.

Of course, there are many more questions recruiters should ask during first job interviews. Still, if we put the technical aspects aside, the questions listed above should give a good psychological picture of the person you’re interviewing.

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