97 Best Unique Interview Questions – How to stand out and land the job!
Gentlemen, there will be times where you will need to ask some seriously unique interview questions.
With the intention of welcoming some truly perfectly fitting team members on board at work, you’ll need the communication skills and precise interview questions. It’s a matter of separating the superstars from the mediocre or those who are just not the perfect fit your company, brand, or job description.
We’ve carefully curated several extensive lists of telling questions to ask during job interviews. Each question comes with a description of what extra information hidden between the lines that you might glean from responses to each question.
Asking unique interview questions will mean the difference between getting a performed, pre-programmed, canned response to standard interview questions and really setting the tone for the potential candidate to show his or her true colors.
Here are the 11 best unique interview questions:
1. Who helped you get where you are today?
The role models that shape us and our support systems reveal everything about how we are inspired, and the character traits we value and are trying to emulate.
2. What’s your work-life spirit animal?
If the candidate could tell you more about how they approach their tasks, they might say, “with the drive of a lion.” They might find the precision of a hawk or eagle comparable to themselves.
3. Tell me about a mistake you made–how did you handle it?
A person who reveals how they absorb wisdom and awareness through their more uncomfortable, challenging moments is who you’re looking for.
4. Did you reach your full potential in your previous job?
The candidate will reveal where they believe themselves to be along the trajectory of their own potential. How much do they believe in their worth? How actively have their taken the bull by the horns in life?
5. What is one thing at which you’re a true expert?
6. What’s your quirk?
This question reveals a candidate’s openness and courage to see themselves as unique.
7. Describe a situation that you should have handled differently.
Their response will tell you a lot about how and how much a candidate is willing and able to learn from their mistakes. Hint: The candidate should say a lot more than that they simply won’t do it again.
8. Have you recently experienced any hilarious moments about yourself?
How seriously does the candidate take themselves? Can they see the humor in all things? You’ll weed out any potential ego issues before they start to fester.
9. Why do you think that the tennis ball is fuzzy or furry?
Reflecting on seemingly mundane ideas will reveal the candidate’s ability to be thoughtful and clever on the fly.
10. If you compare yourself to any animal which is the one similar to you?
Animals represent universal archetypes. You’ll discover which archetypes the candidate values. You can decide whether they are congruent to your company culture.
11. What do you do during your free time?
Even though work and personal life are separate, camaraderie between team members is still founded on commonalities outside of work.
You can ask your candidates some get to know you questions to reveal the wonderful ways their minds work. The most inspiring answers are sure to make it very clear who your top choice is or whether you need to keep looking for the perfect candidate.
Here are 10 unique to get to know you interview questions:
12. You’re hosting a dinner party. It will be you and three guests, who can be alive or dead, real or fictional, but not family or a love interest. Who will you invite, and what will you serve?
You’ll find out what sort of people and qualities the candidate values. You’ll get a glimpse of how they would host a gathering.
13. In what areas do you typically have the least patience at work?
We all get impatient. Whether it’s with people or technology, pacing or quality control, you’ll find out where and if the candidate is meticulous and how that will fit in with current employees. Impatience is not always a bad thing. It can reveal very high standards. It can also say something about one’s communication skills.
14. If someone wrote a biography about your life, what would the title be?
What does the candidate see as the most important facet of his existence so far?
15. What are three negative personal qualities that someone close to you would say you possess?
You’ll find out how authentic and honest the person is, and how confident they are with their faults. You’ll really want to steer clear of people who are unaware of their faults. Extra points for candidates who can openly and even humorously reflect on themselves. They are your golden tickets.
16. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the absolute best in the world at your role, where would you rate yourself? And what keeps you from being a 10?
You’ll find out how confident your candidate in showing some humility. You’ll find out whether they are aware that there’s always room for growth.
17. If It Were Possible To Colonize Mars In Our Lifetime, Would You Go? Why Or Why Not?
Is the candidate outwardly focused, or do they express value and responsibility toward the planet we already live on and solving the environmental issues we have at home before we run off and potentially ruin other planets?
18. What Would Be Your “Perfect” Day?
The candidate will reveal what meets their standards for better than average.
19. Would You Rather Have A Lot Of Good Friends Or One Absolute Buddy?
Introverts and extroverts both have great strengths. Even better are ambiverts that go both ways depending on the situation.
20. Would You Rather Work More Hours Per Day, But Fewer Days, Or Work Fewer Hours Per Day, But More Days?
Scheduling preferences always need consideration.
21. Would You Rather Become A Millionaire By Winning The Lottery Or From Your Own Work?
How does the candidate connect the value of their work and creations with money. Others see their passions as separate from finances.
Honestly, some jobs are structured to keep personal and professional lives separate. Others demand that the two merge increasingly together. It’s important that your job interviews reflect this.
Use these unique but personal questions to convey this message and gauge how authentic and up front your candidate is able to be with their commitments. You don’t want any skeletons to fall out of their closet down the road.
Here are 10 unique but personal interview questions:
22. What’s something you haven’t told us, but that we’ll likely find out about you in three months?
This question sets strong boundaries around you, the employer. It lets candidates know that you demand integrity transparency from the get go.
23. If I saw you with your friends on your best day, what would you be doing and what part would you play in the group?
You’ll find out how the candidate is aware of intricate social dynamics.
24. Tell me about the last gift you gave a non-family member and why you gave it to them.
We use gives to send messages to each other. Gifts are about genuine gratitude. They can also be about initiating connections and building rapport.
25. When I speak to your last boss, what is he or she going to say about you?
You’re letting the candidate know that you take job references seriously. You’ll also find out how aware the candidate is of how their former employers perceive them.
26. Give me the first name of someone with whom you work very closely.
Getting references is a great way to further gauge a candidate.
27. Would You Rather Have A Photographic Memory Or Gain An Extra 40 IQ Points?
They’re both valuable gifts. You’ll find out how the candidate weighs memorization and critical thinking against each other.
28. How Would You Spend A Billion Dollars?
Does the candidate mention acts of generosity and service to others? Does the candidate say what everyone would say about taking care of themselves first and they broadly helping others or do they offer truly inspiring, carefully cultivated intentions?
29. What Are The Best Perks That You Have Ever Had At A Job?
How does the candidate interpret “perks?” Are these perks in service to the company, like “genuine connections with team members?” Or are they more selfish?
30. Eliminate One Thing From Your Daily Schedule, What Would It Be And Why?
What does the candidate dread? Or consider a waste of their time?
31. What Is The Most Important Personal Attribute That You Bring To Your Job?
You’ll discover the candidate’s awareness of their strengths.
If you’re a manager, you know how important it is to choose employees that you work well with who are adaptable, reachable, and who strengthen the integrity and consistency of your organization. These interview questions for managers are sure to help you vet your pool of potential employees.
Here are 9 unique interview questions for managers:
32. What are the most important values a company can possess?
You’ll find out how much the candidate cares about company ethics and integrity or if they’re just here to make money.
33. If you were the CEO of our company, what would your 5 year plan be?
How well is the candidate able to realistically articulate potential for growth with awareness of inevitable setbacks?
34. What do you think our industry is going to look like in 10 years? Will it still exist?
How well can the candidate critically think about an entire industry? Are they aware of current events affecting it and related social trends?
35. If you had an unlimited budget, what innovation would you want to create in our industry?
How well does the candidate know the industry and its needs and challenges?
36. If you were interviewing me for my job, what would you want to know about me?
What areas of common rapport between associates does the candidate value?
37. If you were given 10 Million to help solve a world problem, what problem would you choose and how would you contribute to the solution?
How aware of the global challenges is the candidate, and which ones are the most personal to them and why? You’ll better understand their empathy.
38. Do you come to work just to work, or do you like to socialize along the way?
Find out how the candidate values the human connections they forge on the job.
39. You have been confronted with a difficult situation. How did you manage it?
This leave the candidate open to fill in their own idea of a challenge worth sharing. You’ll gain awareness as to what they consider challenging and the details of their approach to it. Do they tackle it alone or in collaboration? How do they perceive what is and is not their responsibility? How do they set boundaries?
40. In What Ways Are You A Leader? In What Ways Are You A Follower?
Let’s be clear. We all have to be competent at both at different times. Be mindful that we’re all robotically trained to talk about leadership. The truly valuable aspect of this question is finding out how the candidate perceives being a receptive deep listener.
At times where meeting face to face isn’t possible, you’ll need some great phone interview questions.
Here are 7 unique phone interview questions:
41. What inspires you to work in this industry?
What is their root cause and deeper motivation?
42. Tell me about a time when you were part of a team that was fun to work with. How did you balance productivity and fun with your co-workers?
It’s a fine balance and the two often feed each other.
43. Tell me about a time when a job or company felt like a bad fit for your personality and why.
Nobody was meant to fit everywhere. It’s important to be admit this and be aware and honest about the reasons. Look for a candidate that can be diplomatic, without eagerness to blame.
44. Tell me about the most unique company event or outing you’ve ever participated in. What made it so unique and did you have fun?
You’ll find out how often the candidate ventures outside the box.
45. Tell me about a time when you felt like a hero at work.
Discover what the candidate believes others respect them for. Is it something that is truly respectable or ego-based?
46. What is a typical day like at your current job?
The mundane everyday life says more than your average Instagram photo.
47. What would you hope to get out of this job?
Does the candidate show gratitude for everyday small wins?
Often, hypothetical questions are needed to gain insight into how the candidate thinks critically.
Here are 10 unique but hypothetical interview questions:
48. You find that your mailbox has 1000 emails on Monday morning and you have time to answer only 200 of them, which ones would you answer first?
How does the candidate prioritize?
49. Describe a situation when you require taking an initiative?
What does taking initiative actually mean to them? How well do they use their passive and active communication skills?
50. Describe a situation when you worked with a new team?
How do they break the ice and communicate a lot of new information at once?
51. Describe a situation where you needed to persuade someone to accept your point of view or convince them to change something.
Can the candidate communicate effectively and diplomatically without using more force than necessary? How do they set boundaries? How are their listening skills?
52. Describe a time when you received criticism.
How well does the candidate accept constructive criticism? Do you notice defensiveness or eagerness to blame? Red flags.
53. Describe a situation when you’ve come onto a new team or a new working environment.
You’ll find out how they view their readiness to adapt to new people and situations. What is their training in flexibility?
54. How would you handle a situation where you are sure that your boss is wrong?
How does the candidate weigh the good of the company with respect for hierarchy?
55. While introducing a new policy, you face a lot of resistance from your team members and work group. How would you handle it?
How willing is the candidate to hear the reasons for the candidates’ resistance? How does the candidate balance relationships with team members with what they believe to be the best option?
56. How would you handle workload during staff shortage?
Staff shortage is inevitable sometimes. How does the candidate view their own personal responsibility toward it? Do they come up with other innovative solutions to it?
57. How would you deal with a colleague with whom you fail to build successful working relationship?
Our enemies are our greatest teachers about ourselves.
You can never have enough interesting interview questions to add to your rotation.
Here are 8 unique yet interesting interview questions:
58. If you were a Microsoft Office program, which one would you be?
How does the candidate like to organize themselves?
59. If you were to rate your memory, how would you rate yourself?
The important part is why.
60. In 60 seconds, explain a complicated topic to someone who knows nothing about it.
Communication skills 101.
61. What excites you?
Sometimes you just need to see what they look like when they’re smiling and passionate.
62. If you could be anything tomorrow, what would it be?
Gain insight to their dreams for themselves.
63. Are you the smartest person you know?
How do they weigh intellect?
64. How many cases do you need if you have to pack 112 pairs of shoes into cases that each hold 28 shoes?
Some quick math or the quality of the pause that they take reveals their relationship with numbers.
65. What’s your nightmare job?
Avoidance reveals blind spots, limitations, or fears. We all have them.
So you want to see if you can have fun with your candidate? Fun interview questions are needed.
Here are 7 unique but fun interview questions:
66. What is your go-to karaoke song?
Are they are sappy? Or do they let off steam with something loud with guitar riffs?
67. Do you like puzzles? What kind?
Do they like to get a little bit frustrated for fun?
68. How many cars are there in Los Angeles?
How wild is their guess?
69. Why are manhole covers round?
Reveal their potential for joking about something inane. Or maybe they actually know!
70. How many combinations of 2 rolled dice will result in 6?
More math to provoke them.
71. If you get a 25% raise at the end of your first year and now make 75,000/year, what was your starting salary?
Not sure if this counts as a fun question for everyone. It’ll reveal the few who do find this fun.
72. You have a 3 gallon bucket and a 5 gallon bucket, how do you measure out exactly 4 gallons?
That would involve filling things halfway. Or something.
Sometimes making your candidates comfortable during their interviews goes a long way to reveal their true potential with these brilliant ice breaker questions.
Here are 10 unique ice breaker interview questions:
73. If you were stuck on a deserted island (and had all the food, water and shelter you needed) what 3 personal items would you bring?
What can’t they live without?
74. Would you rather ride a giraffe to work or an elephant? What are the advantages and drawbacks of your preferred method of transportation?
Would getting through tunnels be a problem?
75. What fictional character do you identify the most with? Why them?
Literature fans are in a class of their won.
76. What language would you like to learn one day? Why?
Languages open us to a new part of our identity. How many identities have they cultivated?
77. If you were a superhero or super villain, who would you be?
Did you choose this character because you are like them or because you aren’t and would like to be?
78. If you could go to any country (that you haven’t been to) where would you go and why?
What parts of the earth draw them?
79. What was the last present you got for somebody?
What was the appreciation being expressed?
80. What was your most recent memorable adventure?
How do they define adventure?
81. Have you ever met anyone famous?
Who do they consider valuable to tell you about?
82. If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
Are they a singer or a dancer?
Break the ice further with these funny interview questions.
Funny questions to ask are great ways to get honest responses.
Here are 6 unique yet funny interview questions:
83. How many sandwiches are eaten in America every year?
Do they exaggerate?
84. Who is your favorite, your dad or mom?
85. Which type of people don’t you like?
Smelly ones? Farty ones?
86. Do you think the Bigfoot exists?
Of course he does!
87. What thoughts were popping off in your mind while coming here?
You might as well ask the obvious.
88. What if we don’t approve you, what will be your alternative plan?
It’s their job to make this one funny.
Get a little strange with weird interview questions because weird team members are crucial to company culture.
Here are 4 unique but weird interview questions:
89. Why should I not hire you?
It’s powerful when the same reason not to hire you is the same reason you hire them.
90. Name 5 uses for a stapler other than stapling.
DIY crafts anyone?
91. How would you pitch this company to a friend?
Have they been all up and down the company website?
92. Do you think zombies should be slow or fast? Why?
Sometimes you’ll need group interview questions when you have so many candidates for several of the same position that you might as well see how they do in their potential teams off the bat.
Here are 5 unique group interview questions:
93. What Is One Word That You Would Use To Describe Your Team?
Can they boil things down to one word and explain why sincerely without being cliche?
94. Would you still be interested if the workplace or work team changes immediately?
It’s worth mentioning.
95. Do you use any tools to support you in leading a team?
Use of resources speaks volumes.
96. Who would you choose, someone that is slow to catch up but willing to be trained or someone that’s no need to be trained but can’t do the right thing?
There’s a pickle to chew.
97. Are there similarities between being a team leader and a coach?
How does positivity and motivation factor in?
More Great Questions To Ask
We listed down a few more articles that will help you spark great conversations.
- Your resource for the best conversation topics.
- Keep the connection up with questions to ask a guy.
- Deepen your understanding with questions to ask a girl.
- Never underestimate how to start a conversation.
- Build relationships with how to keep a conversation going.
Preparing your questions for your interview with a potential candidate shouldn’t be too difficult. So we got a few things to help you remember which ones to pick and how to pick the best questions to get to know your future employee.
Here is how to pick the best unique interview questions:
1. Know your company culture
Your questions should reflect the communication styles that your candidates will encounter should they be hired. The interview should be a slice of life with the company for candidates to try on for size.
2. Don’t be afraid to get personal
These days, there are canned responses galore to trite, boring, overused interview questions that mediocre candidates try to memorize without embodying. Ask off the bat questions that specifically challenge candidates to go off script and be themselves.
3. Bring out the best in your candidates
Challenge your candidates while still being encouraging. Assume that they are the perfect fit until proven otherwise. Be compassionate and honest.
Unique interview questions are sure to get your company the team members that will put you full speed ahead to everyone’s greatest professional potential.
There are so many overused interview questions and over-rehearsed responses out there that we need to make sure that more innovative, creative, daring questions are being asked to evoke authenticity and integrity from the every candidate.