Interesting Interview Questions ideas
February 22, 2016 4:40 PM   Subscribe

I am interviewing someone for a fairly senior role in planning (marketing) soon. What are some of your favorite interesting interview questions (no brain teasers) that enable you to learn about a person in a non-"whats your weakness" way. Thanks in advance!
posted by mooselini to Work & Money (12 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
It really depends on what you're trying to learn from the interview questions.

If you want to draw out the candidate and just get him/her talking about how they see themselves, you could use questions like: Tell me about a typical day for you. What do you look for in a boss? From questions like these, you'd learn about how this candidate will try to act in the workplace.

If you want the candidate to reveal a lot, you should ask more ambiguous questions like: Tell me about a time you were criticized unfairly. What's been the biggest accomplishment/disappointment so far in your career? What would be the highest praise for you? From the answers to these types of questions, you can learn a lot about their character.
posted by DrGail at 4:59 PM on February 22, 2016

What motivates you?
posted by lunastellasol at 5:07 PM on February 22, 2016

Always ask open-ended questions. I like the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Results) method of interviewing (pdf).
posted by triggerfinger at 5:17 PM on February 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

Google "behavioral interviewing questions" and you'll get a lot of ideas for "tell me about a time when you..." questions.

I think the most effective interview technique is to have the person do a brief job-related exercise or role-play. For example, write up a half-page marketing plan for a fictional product, explain in a few sentences what the product is and what the client wants, and ask how they would approach it and what they think of the proposed plan. (Give them a couple of minutes to look it over.) In my experience, this gives you way more information about the candidate than just asking them questions about themselves.
posted by chickenmagazine at 5:37 PM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

What are you most proud of in your career so far?

(I use this when writing executive bios and it really helps people open up.)
posted by mochapickle at 5:41 PM on February 22, 2016

I was once asked "why are you and your best friend friends" and it was extremely challenging to answer on the spot. They were looking for insight on how I form relationships and what I value in others.
posted by toomanycurls at 5:42 PM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

What's the worst promise that you've ever made? What would you do differently if you were in that position again?

on the tip around motivations -- I sometimes pitch three or four different situations and ask what's most appealing to a candidate just to give them something concrete and force tradeoffs, like you're next project might:

1. give you a chance to work with a great team that gets along really well, but the project work itself, while essential and important, is also unglamorous and thankless. (motivated by sense of belonging?)

2. give you a chance to work on a project that, if successful, will get a lot of recognition throughout the company and bring you a lot of positive attention, but the team itself is broad and you won't get a chance to form any deep connections with individuals. (motivated by praise/recognition?)

3. give you a chance to work on your own for something with relatively loose parameters that could succeed or fail, but you get to own all of the aspects process as well as the choice of the team (motivated by empowerment?)

and you get to pick one, which one would it be?

Also, esp. for seniors, I like to ask them to teach me something, esp. if it's a discipline in which I acknowledge that I need to defer to them for their expertise. So, teach me about planning marketing campaigns. Or about budgeting and forecasting. Or something else that they should be an expert in.
posted by bl1nk at 5:59 PM on February 22, 2016 [4 favorites]

I like asking "why did you choose to go to your alma mater?" It gives you some insight into how they make decisions. One guy (whose alma matter was the same as mine) answered "uh, because my mom wanted me to go to college, and I got accepted there". He didn't get the job.

I also like asking for book recommendations.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:24 PM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

I like to ask "What's your dream job?"
and then "What's your nightmare job?"

Sometimes it just makes giggles and helps people relax a little; sometimes it draws out some interesting things.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:56 PM on February 22, 2016

I always ask people toward the end of the interview "What question should I have asked you that I haven't?" I feel like it's an awkward and unusual question, but helps me understand to what extent candidates have thought about the interview in advance and how they've processed the conversation thus far.

I also ask people about their hobbies outside of work as a way to try and determine that they have the facility to be passionate about something.
posted by Jacob G at 5:19 AM on February 23, 2016

Instead of baldly asking someone 'what is your greatest weakness' I tend to ask them 'what is the type of person you are always grateful to find on a team?' because it usually points right at it.

For example, the non-detail oriented people tell me they are thankful for notetakers, the people who shy away from leadership say they are happy when someone steps into a leadership vacuum, etc. They often don't even realize that they are identifying their weakness, they are just answering from their gut - it often leads to pretty interesting results.

(My favorite answer is when they say "someone who doesn't agree with me" or "someone to play devil's advocate," since it typically shows me they appreciate the benefits of group work - eg that you make sure all potential approaches are considered.)
posted by CharlieSue at 10:32 AM on February 23, 2016 [6 favorites]

Tell me about a time you made a big mistake. How did you recover from it?

Tell me about a time you were given a task you didn't know how to do at the outset. How did you get the job done?

Tell me about a recent project or accomplishment that you're particularly proud of?

Have you ever seen someone do something you thought was unethical? How did you deal with it?

Tell me about a time one of your direct reports made a big mistake. How did you handle it?

When I call your references, what do you think they'll tell me about you? Are any of them people who reported to you? If not, what would your direct reports say about you?
posted by spindrifter at 5:12 AM on February 28, 2016

« Older Academiafilter: assertiveness without loss of...   |   What do I do with my life? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.