Nontraditional Interview Questions that Help Identify Top Candidates

Most candidates prepare extensively for employment interviews – at least the best ones do. How can you ask questions that really get at the essence of who a candidate is without resorting to “gotcha” questions?


Here are a few that can offer insight into your candidate:

How do you plan your day?

Find out how organized a candidate is with this question. Everyone has a system that works best for them, but you want them to have some sort of foresight going into each day. What is their method to keep their top priorities at the forefront, rather than allowing themselves to be buffeted by every urgent, but unimportant issue that arises. Top candidates manage their time efficiently.


How do you handle conflicts with co-workers?

Employees spend more time with each other than they do with family and friends, so conflict is bound to arise. But how does he address it? Does he defuse it and move on? Hash it out once and clear the air? Bring the problem to management attention? Or does he pride himself on getting along with most anyone?


What is your proudest professional moment?

Give the candidate a chance to toot his own horn. Do his priorities align with yours? Is he proudest of a solo accomplishment when he will be expected to work as part of a team? Or is his greatest source of pride winning over a difficult customer – a skill that will be key to your organization if he is hired?


What do you like to read?

Does the candidate read non-fiction to learn and develop their career skills or romance and mystery to escape and recharge after a tough day? Both choices have their merits, but the answer will help you to get a well-rounded view of their personalities and learning styles.


How do you adapt to change?

One constant in business is the need to deal with change. Give the candidate an opportunity to discuss how they welcome (or cope with) change, ideally with examples from their career experience.


How would you learn an unfamiliar topic?

Today’s top candidates must be ready for developments in technology, business, the economy and more. The answer to this question will help to understand how to effectively train them. Do they hit the library or bookstore? Head to Google or YouTube? Or look for an expert willing to share knowledge?



None of these questions has a truly wrong answer, but they offer the opportunity to see how well a candidate will fit into your corporate culture and how much long-term potential they may have.


For more ideas on how to identify top talent and help adding to your full-time or temporary staff, contact the experts at Malone. We identify, screen and interview candidates, allowing you to choose from the best prospects.

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