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    HR Resources | 8 min read

    The Most Unique Interview Questions Interviewers Tend to Ask

    Conducting interviews is imperative for you to assess your candidates and let you know whether they are the right fit for the job. However, asking interviewees the same old types of interview questions can sometimes become repetitive and mundane. Moreover, you may not always be able to see the most authentic side of your candidates. More often than not, they have already anticipated the questions you are asking and prepared their responses beforehand.

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    Unconventional questions, on the other hand, can take them by surprise. This enables you to bring out the candidate’s true self and evaluate his/her critical thinking at the same time as they talk you through their line of thought. Such questions can be very valuable, especially when hiring hourly employees.

    Now that you see the value of catching your candidates off-guard, here are the top 10 most unique questions we’ve collated for you to judge if an individual is indeed a good fit for your company!

    Top 10 Interesting Interview Questions

    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 may be important for certain lines of work such as the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry. Especially if they are applying for a front-end position, such a trait allows them to give their customers a better experience when making their order.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    This question does not have the right answer to it. Rather, look out for candidates who can link their answer to something positive about themselves. A good answer will also include detailed reasoning behind their choice. 

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

    Again, this question might seem irrelevant at first glance. However, it actually assesses how your candidates are like with regard to open-ended thinking and also their reaction when faced with uncertain situations.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    Look out 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, again, be able to link the reason behind their answer to his/her positive trait.

    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?

    This is one of Jeanne Dewitt’s, Revenue and Growth Head for North America at Stripe, favorite questions to ask her interviewees. It allows your candidates to bring out their strengths and strategic thinking skills and see if they are 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 also showcase some empathy. As the candidate gets into their hypothetical actions as a CEO, acknowledging how their actions may affect the team hints at their considerateness, a key quality for team players. This is especially important in the QSR industry where most job responsibilities require teamwork of some sort.

    4. Why shouldn’t we hire you?

    Our fourth question is a fresh take on the usual ‘What do you think are your areas of improvement?’ type of interview questions. It allows interviewees to choose their arguments - they could either highlight the skills they are lacking in or why they might not be the perfect candidate you are looking for.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    Needless to say, you wouldn’t want someone who has a working style that does not fit the job position. Look out for responses that are tolerated by your team. For example, if you are interviewing candidates for a cashier position in your QSR franchise and are willing to allow them to change their shifts around, a response such as this - “As I am currently a student, you shouldn’t hire me if the shifts of the job position are not flexible.”  - should not be an issue for you.

    5. 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 he/she 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.

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

    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 even better.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    Again, you would want a structured response which tells you the reasoning behind their answer. A candidate who can convince you that their action is justifiable will be the one to look out for as it shows that they can quickly make logical and sound arguments.

    7. 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. Especially in a customer-facing role in the QSR industry, being able to think on your feet is a key attribute the ideal candidate for the position should have.

    What to look out for in candidates’ response:

    With this question, you will want to look out for interviewees 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.

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

    While this question may sound like a childish one, Forbes found it to be an indicator of potential leadership capabilities. According to their study, 72% of surveyed leaders chose the ability to fly over being invisible. In other words, they prefer being in the spotlight. Though it should not be the determinant question to assess one’s personality or cultural fit in the company, it provides a good gauge regarding the impact the candidate will have on the organization.

    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 prefer to fly as their superpower and assess if their justification fits the job responsibilities they might take on in the future. Most importantly, ensure that their responses are constructed clearly.

    9. 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 be one that focuses on strengths that are valued by your company. For example, a candidate may say that he/she would be a horse as they can function both independently and in a team, on top of being fast-learners. Such qualities will be valued in fast-paced working environments, which is common in most hourly positions.

    10. 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 his/her 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. It will be even better if 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 due to its unsuspecting element. It is important to note that for these questions, you are not exactly looking out for the right answer. Rather, we would advise you to focus on the way the interviewees articulate their thoughts when coming up with their responses. However, it is crucial to draw a line between unique questions and inappropriate ones as an interviewer. You may consider this list as a guide to your unique interview questions.

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

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    Zakiyah Hanani

    Zakiyah is a freelance content writer. She’s a lifelong learner, looking for opportunities to expand her horizons whenever she can. She loves traveling, playing volleyball and reading up on general developments in the industry.

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