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Are you Growing Your Team?  What questions should you ask in an interview? If you're about to attend an interview read on too!

Interviewing job applicants can prove a challenge, especially when several candidates have similar qualifications and experience and are applying for the one job. Many recruiters are starting to spice things up by throwing in some bizarre curveball questions. These reveal a lot about how the candidate handles themselves when taken off-guard, as they are likely to have prepared themselves for just the more traditional questions.

What is a curveball question?

A curveball question is basically a question that will catch someone by surprise. Curveball questions can be about anything, so they make candidates think on their feet. A curveball question can be something like ‘Sell me that pen’ or ‘if you were an animal what would you be and why?’

Why ask bizarre questions?

These questions can help you find out about the candidate’s personality, and gives you clues about whether you would like to work with them, and whether they would fit in with the rest of the team, customers and clients. It’s important to get the right team fit if you are going to spend at least 40 hours a week with them, which is more time than some us spend with their own families and friends.

You can also get an idea of how they work without being too formal, by asking curveball questions like ‘sell me a paperclip’ and ‘What’s 12.5% of £50.00’.

What Curveball questions should I ask?

Some odd questions are actually closely linked to the job, others are designed to test the candidate’s personality. These questions are especially useful when there is very little to choose between candidates. Curveball questions also make the interview more interesting for the interviewer and interviewee, while helping you choose the right candidate.

There are a number of different types of questions you can ask candidates, just be careful not to be discriminating otherwise it could land you in trouble with the law. Here are different types of interview styles that are commonly used.

The Knuckleballs

These questions are fun, giving you an opportunity to learn about a candidate, as well as to see which candidates are not prepared to step up to the plate and take a swing at answering.

In the news story about your life, what would the headline say?

What’s your superpower? 

Do you have a nickname?

What do you think of garden gnomes?

The Curveballs

They may be a little out of the ordinary, but like the knuckleballs, these interview questions can give you great insight into the job seeker if they’re willing to respond candidly.

What’s the most important part of your day? 

This question may tell you how the candidate plans or prioritizes, whether they are a pessimist or optimist, what’s important to them in life, or whether they enjoy their work or are just looking for a pay check.

Does life fascinate you? 

What do you like to read?

The Sliders

These questions may drive home a little more about the integrity and persona of the candidate.  You are looking for candidates to answer a straight yes without hesitance here.

Are you honest? 

This question is more about watching a candidate’s body language and reading subtle cues like how long it takes them to answer.

Are you creative?

Are you happy?

The Forkballs

Don’t be afraid to get a little dirt under your nails and ask some tougher questions, you may be surprised by the responses you get.

What makes you angry?

How do you operate under stress?  

What do you hate about working?

Should I still ask traditional questions?

Recruitment website, Totaljobs claim that although it’s good to ask curveball questions these are the basic questions you shouldn’t ignore and should still be asking each candidate.  

Although it’s good to ask some of the standard questions like ‘Tell me about yourself’ and ‘What did you do in your last job?’ These questions can appear a bit repetitive and the candidate has probably already answered these on their CV, so a mixture of both curveball and traditional questions is good for both the interviewer and the interviewee.

An interview should be a two way thing, so both parties get to know each other’s personalities as well as the standard questions and answers.

These interview tips were provided by Chinny Ogbuagu, from Pitney Bowes Ltd. A company that strives to help businesses save time and money with their postal solutions. You can find her on Twitter and Google+.

So now you think you're prepped with a great interview technique? If you have a vacancy to fill or a team to grow you can create your advert with us here.  If you're looking for work then start your search here.

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