Hiring Employees: 10 Creative Questions That MUST Be Asked

For any business to be successful, it needs some great minds working on it.

It all starts with you – the business owner. Once you begin to achieve success, you’ll eventually grow to the point where you’ll need extra helping hands.

It’s time to think about hiring, and you can’t afford to take this lightly.

Sure, you could interview the first resume you see, asking questions like “what can you bring the role?” and “why were you twenty minutes late to this interview?!”.

Just to let you know – that last one isn’t the best indicator of a successful future employee!

If you want to get the best people to work on your vision and take it into the future, you need to treat this seriously. Preparation is key in order to bring in the right people for interview.

But, once you get to the interview stage, the hard work is just beginning. Now, you’ve got a short period of time to decide whether this person is suitable in the long-term.

That’s not easy to decide, so you’ve got to make each and every one of your questions count. We’re going to take a look at ten fantastic questions you should be asking prospective candidates. They’ll help you to find the very best people for the job.


Q1: “Who Are You? What’s Your Story?”

This question takes a slightly different slant than the usual – “tell me about yourself” line of questioning.

Instead, it delves more into the person’s generic background. This might pose a stumbling block for the interviewee, as it’s such an open question. What you’re looking for is a creative response, fueled by passion and imagination.

If they respond with a series of uninspired ramblings about their past ‘successes,’  you’ll get a good sign of their personality. If they’re bursting with enthusiasm, you might just find that you’ve found someone who can bring plenty of ideas to the table.


Q2: “What Is Your Motivation In Life?”

Those who aren’t so bothered about the world of work will answer this question in a very obvious manner.

They’ll tell you that success and improving themselves is their ideal way forward, but you’ll be able to tell whether they mean it or not. The ones who stand out from the crowd are the ones who are sincere and passionate about their goals.

Do they want to make a real positive difference in the world? Do they want to lend their expertise to a company they value? Are they simply driven by money, and they’ll do the best job possible to ensure they get paid the most?

Don’t count out that last option – it’s still a valid cause that can prove beneficial for some companies.


Q3: “What Do You Think The Goal Of This Company Is?”

The traditional way to ask this question is to say “what do you think we do here?” Now, that’s a little dull.

We’re living in a world where anyone can get access to the internet and find out that information. While it’s good to know that they’re interested, it doesn’t take more than five minutes to browse Google.

Instead, you want to delve deeper to ensure that both you and the potential employee are on the same wavelength. For an example of this, check out Forbes.

Their article with Hampton Creek’s CEO talks about how he poses this question with multiple-choice answers. He uses this technique to ensure that he’s bringing the right people on board, with the same vision as his. Don’t underestimate the importance of this.


Q4: “Tell Me About A Past Project You’re Proud Of”


Lou Adler – CEO of The Adler Group, says that a variation of this question is the best interview question ever. “It took 10 years of trial and error, but I eventually found it.”

The question is – “what single project or task would you consider your most significant accomplishment in your career to date?” Now, you can use that question or the one we’ve suggested today, and you’ll get similar responses.

What are you looking for? Ultimately, you want someone who can reel off a particular achievement and describe it with profoundness and passion. It will give you an indication as to how much they value their past achievements.

If you can find that they can’t give you an example, what’s to say that they’ll ever achieve anything spectacular in your place of work?


Q5: “Tell Me About A Time When You Made A Mistake”

This is a classic question, and it’s one that is heard in the majority of interviews that take place.

There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s still a very important question that should be asked regularly. In all honestly, you don’t have to do a whole lot of reading between the lines for this one, either.

If the responses point the blame elsewhere, your warning signals should be going off. Instead, you want someone who can take responsibility for mistakes (we all make them!) and point to examples of improvement.


Q6: “What Questions Have You Got For Me?”

Notice how I didn’t put this question at the very end?

That’s because I want you to catch out your interviewees by throwing this one in the middle. Here’s the thing – this question has become an expected finish to any interview.

They’re waiting for it, and good candidates will have prepared with a number of potential questions. But, by putting this question in the middle, you’re challenging them.

They’ll need to think on the spot, and if they can still come up with meaningful questions, that’s a good sign.


Q7: “Here’s $100,000. How Would You Build Your Own Business?”

It doesn’t matter whether you’re employing an administrator or a manager; this is a great question. Ultimately, you’re looking to employ this person for the long-term.

Eventually, you might get to a point where they’ll rise up the ranks and hold very senior positions in the company. It’s your job to use this opportunity to discover how business-savvy they are.

Will you be able to promote them in the future, or do they not have the skill set that’s required? This answer will allow you to get a good indication.

You’re looking for candidates who can go into detail and use creativity to come up with the best answers. The more in-depth – the better.


Q8: “How Have You Dealt With Difficult Business Relationships In The Past?”

If any interviewee tells you that they’ve never disliked anyone in business, they’re probably lying.

Sure, they might have got along well with their bosses, but there will be co-workers that they weren’t so keen on. It’s naive of us to think that we can throw a bunch of unknowns together and have them work in perfect harmony.

So, push this question a little further. Will they stand their ground? Are they argumentative? Are they a pushover? Different personalities suit different roles.

You might just discover that their personality isn’t necessarily the best fit for your company. You need someone who can easily integrate into your company.


Q9: “You Know This Role Well. We all Have Our Dislikes – What Do You Dislike About It?”

You’re hiring this person based on the fact they understand the role they’re being asked to do. They’re obviously pursuing a career in this profession for a reason, but we all have our dislikes.

There will be elements of the job they don’t enjoy, whether they’re a Hollywood superstar or a janitor. Ask them to give you at least one or two examples of tasks they don’t particularly like.

You never just know if important details will arise as a result of this question. If they don’t like standing in front of a class, you probably don’t want to hire them as a trainer.

If they aren’t keen on using modern technology, you don’t want to put them in charge of social media marketing!


Q10: “In Five Years Time, What Have We Achieved Together?”

Normally, you’ll hear this question being asked in a different way. “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is a common example of this.

That sort of question is very often answered in the same way, though. By tweaking it and asking what you’ll have achieved together, you can get a more in-depth answer.

It forces the interviewee to think about their answer more carefully, and will put you in the picture as to their aspirations and goals. Ultimately, it’s a way of determining whether you’re on the same wavelength or not.

There’s no right or wrong answer as such, but you’ll soon know whether you like the sound of what they’re telling you.


What Questions Are You Asking?

And there it is!

Those are our ten questions that will help you to determine whether you’re bringing the best quality on board. There are more great examples out there if you need them, and you can always tailor them to your specific company.

Ultimately, these questions will weed out the time wasters. By following them, you should be able to end up with a loyal, hardworking group of talent before long.

So what interview questions are you asking when you’re looking to hire new employees?  Share your thoughts, ideas, and comments below.


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