10 More Unique Interview Questions Than "Tell Us About Yourself"

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Feb 28, 2020

Feb 28, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

2018 marked the first time in America's history that there were more job openings than available workers to fill them. 6.7 million job vacancies were available at the time. 

6.7 million job vacancies equate to 6.7 million job interviews at the very least. With multiple people applying for each job, the number of interviews quickly becomes mindboggling.

Not all interviews are created equal, however. Many just go with the standard interview questions such as "tell us about yourself" and "what are your three biggest weaknesses?"

If you're looking for more insight into your candidates then you need to ask unique interview questions. Here are ten you should consider. 

1. Tell Me How You Prepared for This Interview

This is a great question to drop in right at the start of an interview.

Firstly, it tells you a lot about how much preparation the applicant has put in, which is a clear indication of how much they really care about getting the job. If they're not sure how to answer you can be pretty sure they've not done much prep at all. 

If they can tell you exactly what they've done to prepare, then you've got a bit of insight into their responses to other questions. If they tell you they've done some research online then you may not be so impressed by their knowledge of the facts and figures about your business. Conversely, if they say they've researched you but then can't offer these kinds of insights, their research was obviously not that in-depth. 

If they do mention having looked at the company website, it's the perfect opportunity to ask the next question.

2. Tell Me Something About Our Company That's Not on Our Website

This is a perfect question for seeing how your candidates can think on their feet.

Don't be surprised if they can't answer. After all, your website should contain most of the information about your company. Seeing how a candidate copes with not being able to answer a question can often tell you as much about them as one they can answer with ease.

If they are able to find a genuine answer then you'll know that they've put some serious research in.

3. What Was the Least Satisfying Job You've Done?

This is a simple way to find out what motivates your candidates by learning what turns them off.

When they answer, ask them what it was about that job that made it so unsatisfying. If they can narrow down precisely what caused them to be unsatisfied, then they're someone who knows what they want from a job. Whether that fits with the role you are offering is up to you to decide.

4. How Would Your Last Boss Describe You?

The beauty of this question is that you should have the details of their last boss as a reference on their application. If they didn't list their last boss, you should definitely ask why.

This twist on the well-used "tell me about yourself" line makes them think purely about their impact in their previous workplace, and the traits that they display at work. If you're so inclined, you can always call their old employer first and compare the answers.

5. Tell Me About a Time You Had a Measurable Impact on an Employer's Business

This is a perfect question to get away from the generalities that often fill up much of an interview. You're looking for them to be able to give you cold hard facts.

Not only does it give them a chance to show you how they've made an impact in a previous role, but also gives an insight into their understanding of how to measure that impact. It shows that they can apply a strategy and evaluate its effectiveness.

You hiring processes should be strategic too. Read more to find out how to get more strategic in your hiring process. 

6. Tell Me About a Time When You Didn't Know How to Complete a Task

You want to hire people that are independent thinkers and don't need to be told what to do all the time. It's an important part of the recruitment process.

This question gives your candidates a chance to show how well they can solve problems independently, or whether they need to have their hands held at all times.

7. What Do You Find Hard About Teamwork?

All your employees need to be able to work in a team.

Instead of asking how good they are at it, flip it on its head. Asking what they find hard about teamwork will get them to be honest about how they see themselves in a team situation.

It will also give you an idea of whether they will be a team player or not.

8. What Can You Offer That Other Candidates Can't?

This is a perfect question when you want to find out a candidate's USP. 

Many interviewers ask candidates what they can bring to the role, which elicits the usual stock responses about hard work and enthusiasm that don't really tell you anything. This question gets candidates to really sell themselves and explain what truly makes them unique.

9. Tell Me About a Time When You Got Something Wrong at Work

It's inevitable that at some point in everyone's career, things are going to go wrong. How people cope with these setbacks is very informative.

If the candidate says they've never got anything wrong, you should definitely push them further. After all, nobody's perfect. Being honest about having made a mistake is important, and it gives them the opportunity to explain what they did about it.

10. Have You Ever Been Asked to Do Something You Didn't Want to Do?

We've all been asked to do something at work that we really didn't want to do. That doesn't mean it was something illegal or immoral; it could have just been something that was really boring, or too much like hard work.

How people react to being asked to do something they don't really want to do can tell you a lot about them. It also gives you an insight into what they'll be willing to do for you.

Looking for Unique Candidates for Your Unique Interview Questions?

We hope that these unique interview questions have you given some food for thought when it comes to interviewing candidates.

Now all you need is to find the right candidates for your positions. That's where we can help. Our standard listings are online for 35 days and will also feature in job email alerts. We also offer volume discounts for multiple job postings. 

Register with us today and let us help you find the perfect candidate for your role.