Great Interview Questions That Show How Your Candidate Thinks

Strengths and weaknesses, goals and accomplishments… every job interviewer asks these questions, and candidates are prepared for them. What other insights can you gain from a job interview? Here are some crucial questions to ask.

When you are looking for the right match, it goes beyond training and experience. Employers are increasingly looking for employees that also have certain attitudes and mindsets to help them cope with stress and change, and interpersonal skills that complement your teams. However, it isn’t always easy to learn this information by asking standard interview questions. Here are some attributes recruiters are often looking for, and key questions to uncover those hidden qualities. 

Creativity

Creativity is an increasingly important job skill, because it supports problem-solving and innovation. Some of the most creative activities that people do happen outside the workplace, and include things like:

  • Playing a musical instrument. Playing a musical instrument is a great way to improve cognitive health and stimulate creativity. Playing music offers many of the same cognitive benefits as learning a second language, while also challenging physical dexterity and the mind-body connection.
  • Writing, drawing, or photography. Naturally these are deeply creative activities and indicate a candidate with a creative mind and desire for self-expression. 
  • Crochet, knitting, and other handcrafts. Crocheting and knitting are creative activities that have a mental component, involving challenging the learning centers, dexterity, math, and memory. 
  • Cooking and baking. Cooking and baking are also highly creative activities, and indicate the ability to be creative within a certain framework and toward specific practical ends. 
  • Aerobic exercise. Believe it or not, exercise and good cardiovascular health help to improve cognitive function and keep the brain in peak condition. Activities like dancing, tai chi, martial arts, and endurance training have a brain-boosting learning component as well as physical challenges, and are more creative than running or weight lifting. 

Interview questions to ask to uncover a candidates creative side: 

  • What do you do in your free time?
  • What was your favorite subject in school? 
  • In what non-work related topics are you interested?

Adaptability

In today’s world, things change quickly. Whether a company decides to introduce new systems and technologies, shift roles and departments, or disrupt their supply chain, employees with a flexible, adaptable mindset can be incredibly important in implementing these changes. Here are some activities that demonstrate mental flexibility and a willingness to adapt:

  • Travel. Travel is the ultimate expression of adaptability. Generally speaking, structured travel, like cruise ships, all-inclusive resorts, and group tours are less stimulating than unstructured travel, but candidates who enjoy travel tend to be more readily adaptable to change. 
  • Learning new skills. A person who spontaneously learns a new skill, work-related or not, is demonstrating a flexible mindset and a willingness to adapt. 
  • Group activities. People who go on group hikes, engage in pub quizzes, have a monthly book club, and engage in other group activities tend to be people who are genuinely interested in sharing, learning, and expanding their horizons. 

Interview questions to ask to learn about a candidate’s adaptability:

  • What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve done? 
  • Tell me about a time when things didn’t go according to plan?
  • What is typically not a comfort zone for you and how do you handle working in one?

Teamwork

Teamwork is a foundation of many workplaces, and it helps to foster loyalty, success, and motivation, and improve results. Not every role is teamwork-dependent, but for those roles, here are some things to look for: 

  • Sports activities. Naturally, team sports are the best environment to foster teamwork. Being involved in team sports helps candidates learn to cooperate with each other, communicate about shared goals, and support individuals in roles that promote the success of the whole team. 
  • Team games. Don’t discount the importance of video games in developing teamwork and a collaborative attitude. Many games rely on successful collaboration and working together, often with incredibly diverse teams located around the world. 

Interview questions to learn more about a candidate’s teamwork abilities:

  • Do you/have you played any sports or games? 
  • Tell me about a goal you accomplished with other people. 

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is becoming a more and more critical skill in the workplace, as larger business initiatives require decentralized decision making. Strategic thinkers make better decisions and are more effective in leadership roles. Here are some activities that show strategic thinking:  

  • Board games. Of course chess and go are the ultimate strategy games, but nearly all board games develop and challenge our strategic thinking. Employers might be particularly interested in collaborative board games that encourage players to work together instead of competing.  
  • Solving puzzles. Puzzles of all kinds, from crossword to jigsaw to sudoku are meant to challenge our thinking and promote better brainpower. Puzzles are a great way to boost creativity, adaptability, and strategic thinking. 
  • Gardening. Gardening carries a host of cognitive benefits, and also helps people manage stress and reduce depression. Successful gardening involves long-term planning, where the incremental steps you take today pay off in the coming years or seasons. Gardening as a hobby tells you a lot about a candidate’s ability to plan and execute in the long term, while adapting to the present moment. 

Interview questions to ask to discover strategic thinking: 

  • Do you have any hobbies? 
  • What are your long term plans? 
  • How will you reach your next goal? What steps do you need to reach this goal?

By broadening the scope of your questions, and taking non-work activities as seriously as work training and experience, you can learn more about who a candidate is a person, and make the best match for your position. At grapefrute, finding the perfect match is our speciality, and we take the time to understand who our candidates are, so you always get the best talent for your needs. Contact us for the most effective FMCG recruitment in the business.