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How to Ask Unexpected Questions During a Job Interview (With Examples)

One of the best ways to test your candidates is to ask unexpected questions.


Because asking unexpected questions in an interview will allow your organisation to get a better sense of what candidates sound like when they aren’t rehearsed.

Your candidates will have prepared responses to the classic questions. If you really want to get to the nitty gritty of what makes your candidates tick, you need to catch them off guard a little (not too much, there’s a line to tow here!).

This means that you, as an interviewer, should ask candidates something they probably haven’t prepared for in order to receive an honest and real-time answer.

What unexpected questions can I ask in a job interview as an interviewer?

Here are a few examples of unconventional questions you could ask during an interview:

  1. It’s 12pm one year from now, what are you doing?
  2. Do you think it’s better to submit a project that’s perfect but late, or one that’s adequate and on time?
  3. Why shouldn’t I hire you?
  4. How would your manager describe you and how would your best friend describe you?
  5. What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

Many of these questions are a little more playful. If you’ve a question you want to ask, go ahead and ask it! If the candidate can respond well to an unexpected question, then chances are they’ll respond well to unexpected experiences while at work!

What unexpected questions should I prepare to answer as an interviewer?

As well as asking candidates insightful yet unexpected questions, it’s also important to ensure you pay attention to any questions a candidate may ask you.

Candidates who show great potential will be curious and invested in learning more about the organisation and the job role they’re applying for. Paying close attention to the questions you are asked as the interviewer will leave a positive impression for the interviewee. Remember, you’re being interviewed just as much as the candidate!

Here are a few examples of questions you should prepare to answer:

  1. In this job position, what does success look like?
  2. What type of person works well within this team?
  3. What’s the biggest opportunity for this role?
  4. What’s the most challenging aspect of this role?
  5. How did the company determine its mission and core values?

If you’re ever unsure of an answer, don’t lie or make something up. Acknowledge the question and make a note to find the answer (make sure to actually get back to the candidate!).

Need to speak to a recruitment expert?

At Absolute Personnel, we specialise in connecting the best talent with your business.

No matter your industry, we have a recruitment solution for you.

We’ll never send someone your way without meeting them personally. We vet every single candidate before you talk to them, meaning you only spend time interviewing the best of the best.

Click here to get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to answer your questions and learn what makes your business tick.

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