What Recruiters Really Want to Know When Asking Non-Traditional Questions

November 17th, 2017 Posted by Compliance / Risk Management, Job Applicants 0 thoughts on “What Recruiters Really Want to Know When Asking Non-Traditional Questions”

Every recruiter or interviewer has a different style, but interviewees should be prepared for it all. As a job applicant, your goal should be to demonstrate you’re forward-thinking, adaptable and a problem solver throughout each phase of the interview process both verbally and non-verbally. When recruiters or interviewers ask a candidate a non-traditional question, the way the applicant answers that question can reveal noteworthy information about their personality.

Standard interview questions usually uncover information about a job applicants’ work history, but non-traditional questions often uncover how they will perform on the job, which leads to finding out if a job applicant is the right fit. Below are a few examples of non-traditional questions a recruiter might ask that will uncover a job applicant’s organizational style, ability to fit in with the team and their creativeness.

• What are the first few things you do when you get to work?
• Are there any types of personalities that get under your skin?
• What do you read on a regular basis?
• If you could do anything for a living, what would it be?
• What’s your favorite movie and why?
• Who is your favorite superhero?

Companies often find themselves in situations where interviewees don’t live up to their expectations when it comes to job performance, and that might contribute to the applicant simply mastering the art of a traditional interview. For instance, rehearsing answers to questions they know recruiters want to hear. Traditional questions can help weed out the job pool, but they aren’t always the best predictors of how applicants will be once they land the job.

So what’s the point in asking a non-traditional interview question? The short answer is it helps assess the type of personality the job applicant has and whether they’re the right fit for the job or the company culture.

For example, asking “if you had the ability to choose any super power, what would it be?” is an odd question to ask in such a serious setting. The real takeaway isn’t the applicants’ answer, it’s the thought process behind it. Posing this type of question will likely catch the applicant off guard, which in turn can bring personality traits to light that wouldn’t have otherwise presented themselves. Are they quick to blurt out any answer? Are they carefully constructing a meaningful answer? Are they enthusiastic, or shrugging off the question completely? These different scenarios will play out, which will reveal their personality and help recruiters or interviewers gauge how they problem solve or deal with swift changes in the job.

Quirky, non-traditional questions will uncover traits like how adaptable you are, how well you can solve real business issues, and your managing style. Perhaps mixing traditional and non-traditional questions can help prevent recruiters and interviewers from hiring the wrong candidates, and reveal the right candidate for the job sooner.

JW Michaels & Co. is an executive search firm dedicated to serving the specialized recruiting needs of top-tier financial services, legal, technology and business institutions.

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