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Suite 305 - Queens Dock Business Centre

67-83 Norfolk St


L1 0BG

It’s critical for hiring managers in this current market to approach interviews in the right way. If you ask too many ‘traditional’ questions then you run the risk of not discovering what your applicants are capable of – but, on the other hand, if you ask impossibly hard questions then your candidates are likely to come away feeling that a company is not right for them.

I was talking with one of my clients today about their interview process and after the call I got dragged down a rabbit hole of what do some of the biggest most successful organisation’s do as part of their interview process. My business coach John Haynes of the International coaching academy ( ) had a mantra’s of “Copy what successful people do and you will be a success”. So I wanted to see this through the prism of interviewing.

Many of the world’s top companies have found success using unusual lines of questioning that reveal far more useful information about their applicants and their ways of working than the standard interview’s competency-based scenarios of tell me about a time, or talk to me about a situation…Here is what I found

Google – “Name a prank you would pull on a manager if you were hired.” claims a hopeful Applications Support Engineer had been asked this question in an interview in 2014. While it might seem a bit out there, it gives the candidate a chance to think on their feet and describe something both funny and appropriate. The ideal candidate would likely talk about how they’d need to be sure of their sense of humour first, before discussing an example of a harmless prank that’s just as funny for the ‘victim’ as the onlookers.

Facebook – “What do you do on your best day at work?”

CNBC reports that Facebook’s Recruiting Director Liz Wamai wants to know what a perfect day would look like for her candidates. “To me, that speaks to what are their strengths [and] what do they like to do,” Wamai said at a Glassdoor Panel. Ideally, you’d like to hear a candidate describe aspects of both the job itself and the company culture that they’d fit into best.

Trader Joe’s – “What do you think of garden gnomes?”

This question, as reported by The Muse, seems to be another attempt to throw candidates off-guard by asking them about something it’s impossible to be prepared for. This gives the interviewer a chance to see first-hand how the applicant deals with unexpected circumstances, and an insight into how they may deal with uncertainty while on the job.

Cheveron – “What three words would your friends use to describe you?”

Apparently Chevron doesn’t want candidates to talk about themselves, but about the perception others have of them. This allows the candidate to talk more naturally about their personality. It also sheds some light in their usual role in groups – which could be essential if you are trying to ease someone into an already-established team.

 NCL – “Do you believe in bigfoot?”

Staff Solutions warns that this holiday company asks about a popular conspiracy theory – but it might not be just to weed out candidates who like to wear tin-foil hats. If a candidate says no and describes the lack of conclusive evidence despite many attempts to locate the creature, this reveals the candidate is likely to be a logical thinker.

A person who is open to the idea of the bigfoot existing, however, might be the kind of candidate who enjoys going against the grain and will be happy to question established protocols.

This is just a selection and mainly from American companies but companies with multi billion EBITDA’s and low attrition rates. An interview as mentioned above is a critical time to showcase a business but by making it memorable and really testing applicants these organisations could be on to something.

What left field questions could work for your business and give you a better insight into the candidates who could be your future colleagues?

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