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Go Beyond Behavioral Interview Questions

42307419_sEmployment interviews are the result of great sourcing and recruiting. They are the next to last step in a process that is often flawed but very necessary to build an effective and competitive workforce. Interviews are where recruiters and hiring managers put the pedal to the metal when they feel they have solid candidates lined up for openings and need to get to know them better to make hiring decisions.  I have written a lot about the merits and importance of Behavioral Interviewing, which I strongly believe in.  But take a look below at some creative interview questions that fall outside of behavioral interviewing parameters, yet are still worthy of consideration.


Yashi CEO Jay Gould

CEO and cofounder of New Jersey video-ad tech firm Yashi Jay Gould uses unique interview questions to assess the candidate’s character and culture fit. His go-to interview question is “Why shouldn’t I hire you?” and he likes to look candidates in the eye when he asks it. He waits until the end of the interview to ask this question and believes how candidates answer is just as important as what they answer.

Gould stresses that gauging truthfulness when a candidate responds depends on things like eye contact, body language, and voice inflections. He creative interview questions like this to assess integrity, self-awareness, and transparency, mirroring Warren Buffet’s advice about integrity being one of the most important qualities to look for when hiring.

He likes to use interesting interview questions like this because it catches people off-guard and often reveals their true natures while they try to answer. Gould recognizes people who are being honest and humble about their faults and says they are the kind of likeable people he likes to work with. He can spot fakes and those who flounder with this question, and he doesn’t hire those who refuse to answer it.


Executive Coach, Author Kristi Hedges

Kristi Hedges, author of “Power Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others,” is an executive coach and leadership development consultant who knows how hard it is to get it right with interviews. She says interviews are a problem because no one reveals their authentic self in them, candidates and interviewers alike. It’s easy as an interviewer to fall into bias and have a hard time assessing culture fit.

Her advice is to use revealing and creative interview questions rather than standard questions to get to the truth about what motivates candidates and how they think and work. Hedges uses interesting interview questions like “Tell me about our company, giving me your best analysis,” “What are the first five things you would do if you got this job?” and “What three to five things do you need to be successful in this job?” to cut to the chase on what candidates think and feel about the company and positions they are interested in.


Soulmates Cofounder Becca Brown

As a former recruiter for Goldman Sachs, shoe care retailer Soulmates cofounder Becca Brown knows about interviewing. She uses “What’s your favorite part of your current job?” in almost every interview to better understand what the candidate enjoys doing. She also looks for honesty in a candidate’s answers.


Final Thoughts

When it comes to your interview process, lay your foundation with Behavioral Interview principles.  Think about culture fit, integrity, honesty, and body language when you ask candidates about what they think about your company, about themselves, and about the position they are interested in. Having said that, there is also room to explore other types of interview questions that lie outside of the realm of traditional behavioral interviewing.  Try using some of the unique and creative interview questions above to push the boundaries of your recruiting process.

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