Let’s face it—interviewing is a lot of work, especially while you’re juggling your own tasks and managing teams. But we’re here to offer up a handful of unique interview questions for your next interview (and give insight into how to answer them for those of you job searching!) Common interview questions can get stale. We hope these questions will bring a new level of understanding about potential candidates and give talented creatives new, confident ways to speak about themselves. Let’s get to it!
- Tell me about a time you had to diffuse a stressful situation at work.
This situational question does a few things—it helps the person answering the question to speak on their problem-solving skills while the interviewer can get to know how the interviewee works when faced with difficult situations. It can also help both parties better understand behavior and predict what would happen if the person was hired. Do they have strong leadership skills or could this be something they need more experience with? This question is just one of many emotional intelligence interview questions that we’re hearing a lot about in interviews today.
- Why do you want this job?
Transparency is both valued and powerful in the workplace and this question delivers on both of those values. If you’re looking for a job and apply to one that catches your eye, you should be prepared to speak on why. And if you’re the interviewer, you’ll be able to tell right away what is on the interviewee’s mind. Did they simply apply on a whim because it sounded cool? Or can they get specific about what drew them to the company or the job description in particular and why they’d make the best candidate.
- How has your team directly impacted the company?
This question is suitable for both the interviewer and the interviewee to ask. For the person interviewing, ask how the candidate has made positive strides and directly impacted their current or previous role. For the candidate, ask about the team you’d be joining, how they’ve transformed the company and what is the leadership’s opinion on their progress? You’ll both get to know more about the others’ leadership skills as well as what to expect for the candidate in their new role.
- How did you spend the last year?
If you’re a candidate, you can probably be expected to speak on what you’ve been up to during the pandemic. If you were laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic, you’ll need to be prepared to talk about that, too. We’re not saying to fake a productive year if it wasn’t that for you (we all need to value mental health) —but your focus on the positive things you’ve learned about yourself and the world, hobbies you’ve rediscovered and skills you’ve refined could all be possible talking points. From the interviewer’s perspective, they’ll get to know the candidate on a real, true level. Because let’s face it, this is a whole new workplace—one that needs to include empathy in its interpersonal communication. This question opens both parties up for real conversation.
- What improvements do you believe we need to make to improve X,Y, and Z?
This one really helps the interviewer see if the candidate is on the same page. If they don’t understand, say, how to get creative with a limited budget or come across as though there actually is an “I” in team for them, maybe they’re not the best fit. Plus, the best ideas from a quality candidate will ensure you know you’re choosing the right person for the job.
BONUS: Questions to ask potential employers
Because we want everyone to get the best interview prep, don’t forget to prepare the questions you’ll ask them! And pro tip: a truly interested candidate will always have good questions at the end of an interview.
- What diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts has this company taken in the last year? You care! Let them know. It’ll be a very encouraging sign to hear about their actions. Any attitude or dismissal you receive could be a red flag, too.
- What has the history of this position been like? You’ll get to understand both the ins and outs of the job, the types of people who have worked in this position, and what turnover’s been like before you arrived.
- What will success look like in this position? Their answer will point out (a) the quality of work they’re expecting and (b) how they define success. If their answers are off from your values, that’s something to think about.
Looking for the right candidate? We got you.