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6 Innovative Interview Questions to Get Results

December 9th, 2013

When developing interview questions, employers can struggle to branch out from the old, stale pile of traditional queries. If you want your interviews to produce results you can use, stay away from the “tried and true” open/closed questions and start getting more inventive. Here are several types of questions that the big companies and key industry leaders have begun using to make their interviews more than just a bump on the road.

1. The Personal Happiness Question

This question focuses on personal drives. “What moment in your life gave you the greatest satisfaction?” is a common version. This encourages the applicant to show communication skills while also giving you an excellent idea of what drives them – or what they like to think drives them. Finding out what makes the applicant happy and gives them fulfillment will give valuable clues about their work habits and management styles.

2. The Group Crisis Question

The most popular version of this question is the Google interview question, which essentially says: You’re a pirate ship captain, and your crew gets to vote on how the gold is divided. If fewer than half the pirates agree with you, you die. How do you recommend rationing the gold in such a way that you get a good share of the treasure, but still survive? This example is a little ridiculous, but similar situations illustrate the point as well. How does the applicant lead and solve problems in a small group, team, or office? This is often an important management question.

3. The Industry Question

What are some of the key trends in our industry? Where do you see our industry in five years? Who are the most important leaders in our industry? These informational questions are very important when analyzing how much an applicant understands about the business, what the long-term goals are, and how everything fits together. They will easily show if an applicant has a real interest in the company or is just looking for a job.

4. The Career Move Question

If you had to change careers, which career would you move to? Why? If another company was to make you an offer, what would make you consider it? These questions can unveil loyalty issues, long-term interests, and general skillset information in a unique way. They could be more useful than more traditional career questions in showing what an applicant really thinks.

5. The Problem-Solver Question

If [this scenario] occurs, how would you solve this problem? This is a more detail-oriented version of the group crisis question, and is more suitable for lower-level or temporary employees who need to accomplish tasks and capably deal with issues whenever they come up. Tailor the scenario to match the position, but keep things simple. Throw a real-world problem to the applicant and note the response to see what their experience brings to the table and how much training they will need.

6. The Imagination Question

The imagination question can reveal a lot about personality type and is useful to Connecticut recruiters (link to the about us page)  when trying to find the right fit for a team or a flat organization with plenty of flexibility. From “What is your spirit animal” to “What would be your favorite superpower,” this question will show just how innovative, imaginative, and, well, fun your applicant may be. Just remember to follow up with a “Why” question as well.

About Merritt Staffing

Founded in 1989, Merritt Staffing specializes in filling entry-level to middle-management positions in Westchester, Fairfield and New Haven counties. Our staffing and payroll services fill a variety of employment needs, including part-time, full-time, temporary staffing, temp-to-hire and direct-hire positions. See more at:

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