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“If you were a pizza delivery driver, how would you benefit from scissors?” Everyone’s heard all of the new, quirky interview questions (this one is from Apple) but do they actually have any value? Depends on the company, and the question. Some are merely to make a candidate think, to reveal a “real” side of them, rather than just the professional, prepared interview candidate in front of them. Others have a practical answer that, if the candidate has the right mindset for the position, can be easily figured out. (The problem with this type is that the answers are easily leaked online, resulting in a completely useless question.)

On the other hand, you’ve got your generic interview question that you’re obligated to ask. “Tell me your greatest weakness.” The issue with these is any candidate who is even semi-worth hiring will have their answers locked and loaded and ready at a moment’s notice. There has to be some middle ground, correct? Questions that have a point, that show you who the candidate is and make them think, but aren’t so generic that the candidate has a word-for-word answer ready. Luckily, there are. They’re not as popular all over the internet as the “crazy” questions or the generic ones, but they’re some of the best. They’ll help you get a glimpse into who the candidate actually is, all while remaining professional.

“What is one area you’d like to improve on and what are you doing about it?”

This question will give you a glimpse into whether or not the candidate wants to be the best they can be. Of course, no one is perfect, but you want the employee who at least tries to be better, the one who is taking a public speaking class, is mentoring youth, etc. We all have flaws but those with drive, those who want professional and personal growth, those are the people you want working for your company.

What concerns do you have about working for our company?

Straight forward and to the point. It gives the candidate the opportunity to address any issues they may be concerned with, and for you to see what the candidate thinks about working for your company. In reality very, very few people will be a 100% perfect fit, so most candidates should have concerns and the opportunity to address them could get some of those concerns out of the way.

What are 3 things I don’t know about you?

This is erring on the more casual side, but it could prove to be a valuable question. It’ll allow the candidate to relax and often times can be the turning point of the interview, the point where they let their guard down and you truly see who they are and whether they’ll fit with your team.

What was your claim to fame in your previous role?

This question is one of a couple published by serial entrepreneur James Caan, and I believe it’s an excellent way to phrase a strength question that focuses on past experience. The different phrasing will cause the interviewee to have to think about their answer, but it’s still highly relevant to an interview. Plus, if the candidate really enjoyed their previous role, it’ll show here.

If you had a magic wand that would get you any job you wanted, what job would you have?

Another question published by James Caan, and a great one. It’ll show you whether or not the candidate is passionate about the industry. Hopefully the position they’ll give you will be one within the industry they’re applying for, if not, maybe it’s time to really think about what kind or level of position this candidate is interviewing for. An employee who’s passionate about the industry and can see their future in it is almost always the best choice.

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