10 Thought-Provoking Interview Questions to Ask Potential Employees

The interview can be one of the most important parts of the hiring process. Knowing this, many applicants will prepare responses to common questions. These 10 quirky interview questions will take your interview off-script and enable you to get to know your applicant’s personality and thought process more intimately, while still allowing you to measure their potential success as employees of your small business.

  1. Do you prefer board or card games, and why?
    This question can highlight whether applicants are more strategy-minded or prefer to play off of their people-reading skills. Additionally, this question can suggest whether they prefer to know all the variables of a situation or work with unknowns.
  2. What is your favorite geometrically shape, and why?
    The secret to questions like this is that they’re absolutely arbitrary, but what’s really important and revealing is how the applicant responds to the “why.” Even their willingness to answer such an unexpected question could tell something about them.
  3. What’s on your reading list?
    Answers to this question can tell you about your applicants’ tastes and reading habits. Note whether they name books all in one genre or in different genres, and whether the books are mostly pleasure or educational reading.
  4. Why is a straight line the shortest route between two points?
    The capacity for abstract thinking is an important quality in any applicant. Answers to this question can either be creative or to the point; what is more relevant is the elegance with which the answer is made, as this suggests the applicant’s ability to solve problems on the fly and order their thoughts.
  5. What’s the hardest question I could ask you, and why?
    A deceptively simple question, this can give you insight into what the applicant thinks are the most important qualities for you to know, based on what question they give you.
  6. Why do you think your favorite color is what it is?
    Again, the question is arbitrary; pay attention to what the applicant’s answer says about their personality and how they view themselves.
  7. What’s one mistake you would like to make again, and why?
    This question is an older brother of the classic “what is a mistake you learned from,” because it offers deeper nuance into how the applicant thinks of the nature of mistakes, and into their personality.
  8. Would you rather everything happened just once, or repeated itself endlessly? Why?
    When so many other questions deal with practical issues, which our good for estimating your applicant’s ability to deal with practical issues of the job, questions that deal with the metaphysical can also be useful. Depending on the type of job you’re offering, an applicant’s answer can suggest whether or not they would grow unhappy with the work.
  9. What’s something you would change about your best friend?
    As positive as applicants would like to seem during their interview, sometimes it’s important to force them to be critical. This question allows you to identify their capacity for thinking critically despite a positive bias.
  10. How would you instruct someone on how to draw spiral in with just words?
    Another question that allows applicants to showcase their capacity for creative thinking and problem solving, as well as resource management. The more elegant and minimal their answer, the better.

Sometimes the most educational moments are the surprising ones. Not only are these interview questions good because they force your applicant to think in creative and revealing ways, but also because just the way that they react to receiving them will tell you something about them.