5 Unusual Questions Smart Hiring Managers Ask Potential Employees

Business.com / Hiring / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

New recruitment is the crucial part of a business. These are the 5 unusual questions, savvy businessman would like to ask while hiring.

Starting a business is never an easy process, there are a million things that a business owner needs to consider from selecting the appropriate distribution channel to fine tuning the product/market fit until it's nearly perfect.

However, once the business begins to scale and new hires become a priority, how much thought goes into the employee/company fit?

This is why savvy business owners have relied on these five somewhat unusual questions:  

Related Article: Hire Smarter: 3 Job Interview Questions You Need To Stop Asking

1. What Have You Done to Educate Yourself in the Last Year? 

This is the killer question, no doubt about it. As one hiring manager put it: "Why should I spend my time as well as resource sharing and educating a potential candidate, who has never had the inclination to educate him/herself".We're not referring to securing a place on a prestigious MBA program, it could something as simple as reading an informative book.

This question may catch candidates off-guard and their answers could become quite creative, a recent candidate attempted to make the argument that he is a perpetual learner because his fantasy investment portfolio required him to conduct research on a daily basis.  

Simply put,this question allows you to quickly established whether you have a potential candidate, who is a self-starter and would be motivated enough to upskill whenever necessary in order to tackle challenging projects. 

2. What Resources Do You Require to Fulfill Your Career Ambition? 

I must admit that I've grown fond of this question as it improves on a similar somewhat archaic interview question of "where do you see yourself in five years?"

Sure, any candidate can regurgitate the answer to the 'where do you see yourself' question but if candidates articulate what they specifically require to achieve future success, it displays long-term strategic thinking and it is more likely than not that they didn't simply use a scatter-gun approach when they applied to your company's position as it fits in with their longer-term ambitions. 

3. What Does Leadership Mean to You? 

Folks, who understand leadership are aware that it is an important skill not only for employees in managerial or supervisory roles to cultivate but also for subordinates lower down the chain of command. 

At the core of leadership is influence and the more employees at your organization that can influence each other in a positive manner the better. Let's take the typical day of a business owner; there are a lot of fires to put out, which is time-consuming so in his/her absence it makes a huge difference to have employees that can influence each other and allow the company to operate seamlessly.   

Related Article: Hiring Sales Staff? 15 Must-Ask Interview Questions                                                    

4. What Do You Admire Most About Our Competitors? 

It takes courage to ask this unconventional question, let alone answer it. Business owners are seldom willing to admire their competitor's strengths, however, your business will fare better when you can take the best ideas from competitions and find your own way to use them. 

Although this question may not be suitable to ask every candidate, it does provide an indication of how much thought has gone into the position they're applying for. Let's face it, there is nothing more of a turn-off during an interview than a candidate who is unprepared. 

A candidate waxing lyrical about the strengths and weakness of the company is the minimum you would expect, however, if they can take that one step further and articulate what the competition does well too, then they've really done their homework. 

Related Article:Ask the Market Experts: What's Your Go To Interview Question?

5. If You Could Improve One Thing About Our Product/Service What Would It Be? 

One of the reasons companies such as Apple is successful is down to its employees, from the Chief Technology Officer right down to the "geniuses", who work on the retail floor, they all feel part of a tribe and really believe in the company's mission.

They interact with the products on a daily basis and can translate that passion they have for the product/service whenever they interact with end users. This question helps to identify those candidates, who are in tune with the company's mission and are much more likely to be a good fit. 

These list of questions are by no means exhaustive and should be used as an addition to specific skillset questions i.e. technical questions for a software developer position. However, these unusual questions encourage a candidate to think out loud, more importantly, you get the opportunity to explore their deeper motives as to why they are suitable for your company.

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