News And Advice

Insights, tips and news for job seekers and employers.

Uncover the “Real” Candidate With Off-the-Wall Questions

Any job-seeker worth their salt knows what standard questions to expect during a job interview. These would include “Why are you the most qualified person for this position?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” The same job-seeker probably has stock answers prepared, which may or may not prove helpful to the person conducting the interview. 

Candidates with prepared answers shouldn’t be dismissed too quickly from the talent pool. They may very well be the ideal person for the job! It’s just that experience has taught them to expect certain questions and they don’t want to disrupt a process they’re used to.

Questions graphicThat’s why some HR recruiters are trying a different approach. They’re asking unusual and off-the-wall questions. The goal is to shake things up a bit, catch the job candidate off-guard, get a glimpse inside the “real” person – and possibly have some fun during the interview.

Sample ‘out-of-left-field’ questions might include:

  • If you were a superhero, what would your superpowers be?
  • If you were told you had six months to live, what would you do with that time?
  • What’s your favorite season of the year?
  • Where would you go on your ideal vacation and why?
  • If you won the lottery, what would you spend your $1 million on?
  • Do you have a favorite charity? What makes it special?
  • If the local news covered your life, what would the headline be?
  • Who would play you in a Hollywood movie?

A job candidate who can’t predict what questions they’ll be asked can’t fall back on any stock answers. They have to think on their feet – a potentially valuable indicator as to how they will react to a crisis or other unexpected situation on the job.

The sample questions above (or others you may come across) don’t have a “right” or “wrong” answer. But how the job-seeker responds will offer insights about their character and self-image. Does the candidate answer with an imaginative flair? With self-confidence? Or do they stumble through and appear deflated by the process?

Whatever the result, you’ll likely learn a lot about the person seeking to fill your open position.