What Is Your Favorite Out-Of-The-Box Interview Question To Ask?
To help you with out-of-the-box questions you can ask during job interviews, we asked CEOs and HR managers this question for their best suggestions.
From “What is the riskiest thing you’ve ever done?” to “Describe the color blue to someone who can’t see,” there are several challenging questions that you may ask your job candidates to probe into their personalities and see how they think.
Here Are 11 Out-Of-The-Box Interview Questions:
- What is the Riskiest Thing You’ve Ever Done?
- If You’re Offered More Than One Job, How Will You Decide Which To Accept?
- If You Win $1 Million, What Will You Do With The Money?
- If You Could Teach Anything, What Would It Be?
- If You Were Stuck for The Rest of Your Life Doing One Thing Only, What Would You Choose?
- What Inspires You in Life?
- Tell Me About Your Favorite Trip You Have Taken
- What Did You Have for Dinner Last Night?
- What’s The Most Useful Feedback You’ve Ever Received?
- If a Movie Was Made About Your Career, Do You Think It Would Be Interesting?
- Describe The Color Blue To Someone Who Can’t See
What is the Riskiest Thing You’ve Ever Done?
You can read a lot into someone’s answer to this question. If someone gives a non-answer or a vanilla answer, then you know you’re getting a candidate who does what they’re told and doesn’t question things. That might not be such a bad thing, depending on what position you’re looking to fill and what type of personality you like.
If you get someone who answers it with someone so off-the-wall that it strains credulity, then you might think hiring that candidate is too big of a risk. If you interview someone who gives a complete, thoughtful answer about the risk they took, why they took it and whether they would do it again, then you probably have a quality candidate.
Alan Ahdoot, Adamson Ahdoot Law
If You’re Offered More Than One Job, How Will You Decide Which To Accept?
One of my favorite questions to ask in an interview is: If you’re offered more than one job, how will you decide which one to accept? Asking about what criteria a candidate considers when accepting or declining a job offer can tell you a lot about their motivation.
This question gives a chance for the candidate to explain what their career goals are and what they are looking for in a job. The answer will also help uncover how a potential employee might be motivated on the job and whether they are a fit for your organization’s culture.
Jeffrey Pitrak, Transient Specialists
If You Win $1 Million, What Will You Do With The Money?
This question helps the hiring manager understand the candidate’s priorities and motivations and what they value the most. It may also reveal some of their insecurities, their planning skills, or their attitude about work.
Candidates can answer this question best by relating it to their long-term goals, passions, and interests. Avoid generic answers that only break down what you’ll buy or how much you’ll invest or put into savings. Instead, think that the hiring manager wants to know you better and how your financial situation will change your perspectives.
Jeffrey Zhou, Fig Loans
If You Could Teach Anything, What Would It Be?
I love asking folks what masterclass they would teach if they could teach anything. I think this question is a great way to not only quickly get to know someone better, but also to understand where they believe their strengths lie—perhaps even outside of their professional lives.
For example, people have said things like, “I’d teach a class on how to live out of a backpack for a year with 15 things” or “My class would be about how and where to free dive for jewelry and items that can be resold.” It’s a question that makes people smile and gets people talking.
More than that, it gives them permission to come out of being as serious and as professional as possible and instead allows for a bit of playful banter, which makes a huge difference not only in the quality of your interview but in getting to know the people you may end up working with.
Gigi Ji, KOKOLU
If You Were Stuck for The Rest of Your Life Doing One Thing Only, What Would You Choose?
If you were stuck for the rest of your life doing one thing only, all day long, job-related or not, what one thing would you choose? The answer to this question not only reveals passions and hobbies, but in the best answers, beliefs, and values.
For example, when a candidate gives a broad response like, “I’d encourage people,” they demonstrate that they have a desire to do something impactful with their lives and that said impact can be accomplished in a myriad of ways.
Responses such as these also imply that the candidate’s desire to have an impact or a similar value will translate to a strong work ethic if he believes his job is in alignment with his goal.
Michael Van, Furnishr
What Inspires You in Life?
What inspires you in life? Inspiration is key to motivation. For example, some employees are inspired by the beauty and are therefore more productive when surrounded by art, music, or stunning interior design. Another might be inspired by successful people and pairing said an employee with a task-oriented team could prove imperative to her own growth. Find what inspires people to be both happy and at their best and your staff will likely become both.
Erin Banta, Pepper
Tell Me About Your Favorite Trip You Have Taken
My favorite nontraditional interview question is, “Tell me about your favorite trip you have taken.” You can learn a lot about a person depending on what places in the world they have explored.
On a deeper level, you may even discover that an applicant has lived abroad for a certain amount of time, which is even more interesting than simply visiting a place. I feel this question is especially useful if the applicant is showing signs of stress during the interview because it changes the topic and can help them relax.
Gerald Lombardo, The Word Counter
What Did You Have for Dinner Last Night?
What did you have for dinner last night? This is my favorite question to ask at the beginning of an interview because it’s a great way to jump into a no-stakes conversation that gives me so much information about the person.
Food is something we all have in common, and as such, is a great way to connect with someone. When I’m asking what you had for dinner last night, I’m really asking, can you connect with me, how are your social skills, and will you be a good fit for our team?
Staci Brinkman, Sips by
What’s The Most Useful Feedback You’ve Ever Received?
Smart hiring managers realize you need to hire for the things you can’t train. Integrity, initiative, and the ability to learn are just a few things I look for the candidate to bring to the table. This question helps me assess whether or not they are open to feedback and have the desire to learn from others.
Courtney Ramsey, Courtney Ramsey Speaks, LLC
If a Movie Was Made About Your Career, Do You Think It Would Be Interesting?
If a movie was made about your career, do you think it would be interesting? This is a simple yet unconventional question to ask during the interview. The question forces people to answer, “A movie about my career would be interesting because…” It allows candidates to reflect on their careers and concisely summarize previous work, achievements, and success stories.
In addition to the reasoning behind the answer, the attitude with which the candidates answer is also important. If they are optimistic and proudly talk about their achievements, it is worth having them on the team. Now, the recruiter sees how new hires evaluate their past work experience and performance.
Nina Paczka, MyPerfectResume
Describe The Color Blue To Someone Who Can’t See
How would you describe the color blue to someone who can’t see? I like to ask this out-of-the-box interview question to see how resourceful and creative candidates are. This question is also useful to assess their communication skills and vocabulary, especially for marketing and writing positions.
This question forces the interviewees to think quickly on the fly, as it is likely a question they’ve never been asked before. To help give an insightful answer, candidates who give the best answers typically use adjectives that describe the other four senses besides sight.
No matter how they choose to answer this question, their response gives me a glimpse into how their brain works—it’s a real-time assessment of how they solve tricky tasks with creativity and resourcefulness.
Ray Leon, Pet Insurance Review
Submit Your Answer
Would you like to submit an alternate answer to the question, What is your favorite out of the box interview question to ask?
- What is your leadership style?
- How will you convince me to buy this pen?
- What are the benefits of smiling during an interview?
Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.