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    HR Resources | 8 min read

    The most unique questions to ask in an interview

    Interviews are a great way for you to assess your candidates and see whether they’re the right fit for your team and your open role. However, asking interviewees routine, out-of-the-box questions can sometimes become repetitive and mundane. On top of that, the run-of-the-mill questions may not really create an opportunity for you to see the most authentic side of your candidates. Instead, you’re more likely to get responses they planned and prepared to share.

    Unconventional questions, on the other hand, can take your candidates by surprise—and in a good way. They provide an opportunity for you to show your candidates the fun side of your culture, and they enable you to bring out your candidates’ true self, which gives you a chance to get a better sense of their personality and thought patterns. 

    If you’re looking to add variety to your interview questions, consider adding a question from our round up of the top 10 most unique questions. 

    1. If you were a dessert, what dessert would you be?

    2. Yellow is over here, blue is over there. Where are you?

    3. If you were to take over as CEO of your current company tomorrow and had to increase your company’s current rate of growth, what three areas would you invest in?

    4. Why shouldn’t we hire you?

    5. How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?

    6. You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with it?

    7. How much would you charge to wash every window in Seattle?

    8. If you had a choice between two superpowers, being invisible or flying, which would you choose and why?

    9. If you could compare yourself to any animal, which would it be and why?

    10. How many footballs would fit into this room?

    With these questions, you can assess whether an individual is indeed a good fit for your company. So, let’s get started!

    Top 10 unique interview questions to ask

    1. If you were a dessert, what dessert would you be?

    This question may sound absurd, but it will give insights into how the candidates see themselves, as well as their ability to think creatively. It also assesses their capability to hold a conversation, which is important for customer-facing roles because it allows them to give their customers a better experience when taking their orders.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    There’s no right answer to this question. Instead, look for candidates who can link their answers to something positive about themselves. A good answer will also include detailed reasoning behind their choice. 

    1. Yellow is over here, blue is over there. Where are you?

    This question might seem irrelevant at first glance. However, it can assess how your candidates work their way through open-ended thinking and also their reaction when faced with uncertain situations.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    Look for candidates who can maintain their composure when asked this question, and focus on how they articulate their thoughts as this showcases their reasoning skills. A solid candidate will be able to link the reason behind their answer.

    1. If you were to take over as CEO of your current company tomorrow and had to increase your company’s current rate of growth, what three areas would you invest in?

    A favorite among hiring managers, this type of question allows your candidates to show their strengths and strategic-thinking skills and gives you a chance to see if they're a good fit for the hourly job position.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    A good answer will not only include plausible strategies, but it will also showcase their empathy. As the candidate gets into their hypothetical actions as a CEO, see if they acknowledge how their actions may affect the team. This is a great way to spot a team player. This is especially important in the QSR industry where most job responsibilities require teamwork of some sort.

    1. Why shouldn’t we hire you?

    Our fourth question is a fresh take on the common ‘What do you think are your areas of improvement?’ interview question. It allows interviewees the chance to either highlight the skills they are lacking or why they might not be the perfect candidate you’re looking for.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    Look out for responses that reflect behavior accepted by your team. For example, if you’re interviewing candidates for a cashier position and are willing to allow them to change their shifts around, a response like “I’m currently a student, so I need flexibility with my shifts. If the shifts aren’t flexible, you shouldn’t hire me”  could be just fine.

    1. How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?

    Frequently asked by Amazon, this question helps you assess if your candidates can think outside of the box when presented with an unusual situation. It allows you to see if they can adapt to a new work environment.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    A good response will demonstrate the ability to solve problems by evaluating the situation fairly before coming up with the solutions. One way is to acknowledge the different issues that are present on Mars which may call for a different type of solution than those on Earth. It will be best if the candidate can come up with a general framework to solve the problem, such as finding the cause and effect of the issue before taking any actions.

    1. You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with it?

    This undoubtedly sounds like an improbable situation, but the response the candidate gives could let you get a better sense of their reasoning skills and how they think, prioritize and solve problems. What’s more, asking this will loosen the candidate up, allowing you to get to know their genuine side better and faster.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    Look for a structured response that tells you the reasoning behind their answer. A solid candidate can convince you that their action is justifiable because it shows they can quickly make logical and sound arguments.

    1. How much do you charge to wash every window in Seattle?

    This particular question is an effective one to ascertain how well your candidate can problem-solve. In a customer-facing role, the ability to think and solve problems quickly is so important.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    With this question, look for someone who can apply logical problem-solving skills. For example, they can list out the relevant factors such as energy exerted and time required to clean a window and whether the profits at the end are reflective of their efforts. A solid candidate will also be able to remain calm when asked this unexpected question.

    1. If you had a choice between two superpowers, being invisible or flying, which would you choose and why?

    While this question may sound like a childish one, it can be an indicator of potential leadership capabilities. Getting a better sense of how they would use their superpower could show that they use it for their own benefit—or for the benefit of others.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    The ideal response to this question depends on the job position you are hiring for. Does the position require the employee to hold some sort of leadership position? If it does, you would want to look out for those who clearly communicate how they would use their superpower to help others, although not necessarily exclusively. 

    1. If you could compare yourself to any animal, which would it be and why?

    This question allows you to evaluate a candidate’s innovativeness, creativity and quick-thinking skills. It also provides them with an opportunity to highlight their best qualities.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    An ideal answer will preferably focus on strengths that are valued by your company. For example, a candidate may say that they would be a horse so they can function both independently and in a team, on top of being fast learners.

    1. How many footballs would fit into this room?

    Similar to question 7, this question assesses a candidate’s logical reasoning skills. It’s a good brain teaser to see how an interviewee can use logic to figure out seemingly illogical challenges.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    A good candidate will be able to walk you through their solution using logical methods. For example, they may measure the size of the football and room, and use math to come to an answer to the question. An even better situation: the candidate asks questions to clarify certain aspects of the question such as whether the furniture will remain in the room, for example. This shows that the candidate prefers asking second-level questions before coming up with solutions to a problem.

    Creative interview questions such as the ones above will give you a different perspective when assessing your candidates. It’s important to note that for these questions, you’re not necessarily looking for a “right” answer. Instead, focus on the way interviewees articulate their thoughts when coming up with their responses. It’s also important to draw a line between unique questions and inappropriate questions. We hope you find value in using this list as a guide or inspiration for questions to include into your interview process.

    At Workstream, we manage your backend hiring process so you can focus on what matters. If you’re looking for ways to streamline your hiring process, look no further. Book a free demo with our hiring specialists today!

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