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33 unique interview questions to ask employees in an interview

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When hiring an employee for your department, you must review every candidate’s abilities, traits, and values. Even though many HR professionals use resume screening, there are two better methods to complete this process.

Skills testing using role-specific tests can help you compare top candidates and choose the best for the interview stage. You can then ask unique interview questions to learn about their work ethic.

But what are the best unique interview questions for your hiring process?

In this article, we’ll cover 33 unique interview questions you can ask employees in an interview to assess their skills.

10 unique interview questions about traits and work ethic

Ask candidates some of these 10 unique interview questions about their traits and work ethic to gauge how their personality drives their preferences and passion for work.

1. Which superpower best matches your traits, skills, and personality?

2. Talk to us about a time you decided not to take yourself too seriously.

3. Can you tell us how your coworkers would describe you? Which words would they use?

4. If you could describe your different traits as percentages, what percentage would you assign to conscientiousness?

5. If you didn’t need money, which activities would you dedicate your life to instead of working?

6. Could you name a famous person you’d like to have lunch with?

7. Do you usually ask questions to learn how to complete complex tasks or learn about them independently?

8. Name one factor that encourages you to show your creativity at work.

9. If you could be a vehicle, what would you be? Explain why.

10. Tell us about a time you were unsatisfied with your output at work. How did you fix it?

5 sample answers to key unique interview questions about traits and work ethic

5 unique interview questions about traits and work ethics

Assess your candidates’ responses with these five sample answers to important unique interview questions about traits and work ethic.

1. Tell us about a time you were unsatisfied with your output at work. How did you fix it?

Not all your candidates’ projects will be successful, and it’s normal to experience dissatisfaction when tasks don’t go to plan. But it’s important to check whether applicants can fix their work or learn to avoid errors and stay productive.

For instance, a mobile application developer might notice that a bug they didn’t initially spot hindered the user experience. Although they may feel unsatisfied with their work, they could resolve this by liaising with testers and fixing the bug.

Candidates can also talk about feedback when responding to this interview question. The best answers will acknowledge that constructive criticism can enhance an employee’s output and ensure they satisfy clients or customers.

2. Can you tell us how your coworkers would describe you? Which words would they use?

Even though most candidates’ responses to this question will be unique, consider if the words their coworkers use to describe them align with the organization’s values. Look for positive adjectives or phrases that verify the candidate’s work ethic and show they can work in your company’s work environment.

Some candidates might be creative, which is a beneficial trait for content writing or marketing roles. Others might be detail-oriented, which is ideal for accounting or proofreading jobs.

It’s always worth asking additional questions about these traits and how they relate to candidates’ productivity to learn more. For instance, ask questions such as “Name some recent projects in which these traits helped you yield good results” to gain insight into the candidates’ traits and how they help them complete projects.

3. Do you usually ask questions to find out how to complete complex tasks or learn about them independently?

Candidates should understand that combining independent work and collaborative methods can help employees complete complex tasks. However, experts suggest that asking questions can invite team members to deepen or broaden their thinking. Therefore, applicants shouldn’t overlook opportunities to clarify the role’s requirements.

4. If you could describe your different traits as percentages, what percentage would you assign to conscientiousness?

An easy way to determine if your applicant is conscientious is by using a DISC test to assess their traits. However, hearing your candidates’ responses to this unique interview question can give you more insight into their personalities, helping you determine if they’re a good match for your role.

Since studies show a positive association between job satisfaction and conscientiousness, it’s worth considering if applicants have this trait. It’s also crucial to consider whether candidates can show how conscientiousness enhances their work. 

For instance, a teacher’s diligence may help them explain complex topics to a constantly distracted and unfocused student. As a result, the student may improve their grades at school. 

5. Which superpower best matches your traits, skills, and personality? 

You can expect responses to this question to vary because not every candidate has the same traits. If a candidate is a perfectionist or focuses on the smallest details of a project, they might mention that these traits are like having an X-ray vision superpower. If a candidate completes work quickly, they might compare these skills to super speed.

The simplest way to assess candidates’ responses is to check if their best traits will help them handle the role’s responsibilities. For instance, for editing and proofreading roles, look for candidates with attention to detail who can prove their experience by talking about recent blog- or article-editing tasks they completed in their role.

12 situational unique interview questions to ask employees

Learn how your candidates respond to tricky situations by asking them some of these 12 situational unique interview questions.

1. Which method would you use to sell ice cream at the North Pole?

2. How would you double $2,000 in 48 hours?

3. Which reward system would you use to reward a team if you owned a business?

4. Do you prefer to establish ambitious goals or follow your manager’s routine?

5. How would you pitch our company’s product to a potential customer?

6. Would you rather rush through a project to finish it quickly or take your time and complete it a day after the deadline?

7. Have you ever found learning how to use new technology difficult?

8. Name two of your favorite industry blogs. 

9. What was your starting salary if you received a 25% raise after 12 months and now make $100,000 per year?

10. What questions would you ask if we reversed our roles and you had to interview me?

11. How could our business enhance its corporate social responsibility?

12. What will you accomplish in your first few months if we hire you?

5 sample answers to crucial situational unique interview questions

5 unique situational interview questions

Refer to these five sample answers to our critical situational unique interview questions when reviewing your interviewees’ responses.

1. Which reward system would you use to motivate a team if you owned a business?

Applicants who have applied for leadership positions should know why reward systems are important and give some examples of unique methods they use. Many reward systems can motivate a team, from enabling employees to leave work early to sharing their achievements via a team recognition platform. 

Experts have found that nonfinancial recognition drives up to 55% of employee engagement, so the rewards your applicant mentions don’t have to be related to money. Instead, they may mention that providing a holistic employee experience and enhancing work-life balance can lead to better performance. 

2. What questions would you ask if we reversed our roles and you had to interview me?

This unique interview question will reveal if your applicants have researched your role and have thoughtful questions about their findings. Be wary of candidates who don’t have any questions to ask you since this suggests they haven’t prepared for the interview.

Knowledgeable candidates may ask questions about the following factors:

  • Day-to-day responsibilities of the role

  • Busyness of the department

  • Goals and targets the company wants to achieve in the next few months

  • Performance review mechanisms

They could also ask questions about the organization’s senior management or company culture. Some might even inquire about the most significant challenge the business faces, which shows that the candidate is fully engaged in the interview and wants to learn more about the company.

3. Name two of your favorite industry blogs. 

If candidates want to stay up to date with the latest trends in their industry, they might read and subscribe to blogs to learn more. When they respond to this unique interview question, applicants should share which blogs they think are engaging.

For example, if you’re hiring a content writer or technical SEO writer, you’ll know if they’re enthusiastic about the role if they name two blogs they read – such as the Moz or SurferSEO blogs. If you’re looking for a software developer, they might read the DZone or GitHub blogs.

A few follow-up questions can encourage candidates to expand upon their answers. For example, ask them, “What have you learned from reading the Moz blog?” to test if their knowledge matches the latest developments in the industry.

4. How would you pitch our company’s product to a potential customer?

Answers to this interview question will reveal if your applicants understand the product’s unique selling point and what it does. Candidates who have researched the product will have no problems pitching it to potential customers.

With this question, you can determine if your candidates have marketing and sales skills, which are ideal if you’re looking for a marketing professional. It’s also useful for testing your applicants’ creativity and persuasion skills, which can help applicants think of innovative strategies to increase business sales.

5. Would you rather rush through a project to finish it quickly or take your time and complete it a day after the deadline?

Since quality and timely task completion are crucial for employees, applicants should recognize the importance of achieving both goals. Time management is essential, so look out for candidates who mention this skill in their responses.

Applicants who can explain their methods for achieving quality work within a deadline are more likely to be ideal for your company. Below are some strategies they might mention:

  • Break projects down into smaller tasks

  • Establish a completion date for each task

  • Leave buffer time 

  • Complete urgent tasks first

11 unique interview questions about skills and productivity

Here are 11 unique interview questions about skills and productivity to ask your employees during an interview.

1. Talk to us about your time-management skills. Are there any creative methods you use to complete work on time?

2. Tell us a bit about your critical-thinking skills. How have they helped you finish tasks quickly and efficiently?

3. Do you have any unique problem-solving methods to handle challenges in the workplace? Tell us about them. 

4. Do you prefer learning new technical skills in courses or practicing them in projects? Explain why.

5. Do you have any specific skills that can help our company achieve its mission?

6. Are you most productive in a busy or calm work environment? Explain why.

7. Tell me about a time you had to use a unique or creative strategy to motivate employees.

8. Could you tell us something you found challenging at the start of your career and how you learned to understand it?

9. Are there any projects you would love to work on daily?

10. Could you tell me how your manager rates your work?

11. Are there any projects you would not enjoy completing every day? Explain why.

5 sample answers to critical unique interview questions about skills and productivity

5 critical interview questions about skills and productivity

Assess your candidates’ responses to these unique interview questions about skills and productivity by checking the sample answers below.

1. Talk to us about your time-management skills. Are there any creative methods you use to complete work on time?

According to one survey, 88% of workers admit to procrastinating for at least an hour a day.

However, time-management skills can help employees overcome procrastination and complete projects on time. Look for applicants who can complete projects efficiently using time-management skills, which you can assess with a Time Management skills test

Some candidates might use creative methods to stay productive. For instance, your applicants may use the Pomodoro timer app to ensure they remain focused. Or they might use a time-blocking technique to give themselves a certain amount of time to complete each task.

Try to get more information about the outcome of your candidates’ time-management methods. For example, you can ask, “Have you missed many deadlines when using this method?” to gauge the efficiency of their approaches.

2. Do you have any unique problem-solving methods to handle challenges in the workplace? Tell us about them.

Although you can use a Problem Solving skills test to assess your candidates’ problem-solving skills, it’s important to ask this unique interview question to dig deeper into your applicants’ strategies. 

Some candidates will visualize the problem to find the best technique to solve it. For instance, if a content writer needs to include a table in their article, they might visualize how it should look before creating columns and rows.

Other applicants might use a trial-and-error method to solve the issue by creating a list of many strategies and trying each method until they find one that works.

If a candidate is a top problem-solver, they’ll have many creative ways to handle challenges. Look for applicants with a proven track record of handling problems in their roles.

3. Do you prefer learning new technical skills in courses or practicing them in projects? Explain why.

With this question, you can find out how candidates prefer to develop their skills and if your business will need to provide specific training sessions to support them.

Answers to this unique interview question will vary. Some candidates will prefer to complete courses to hone their technical skills, whereas others will prefer to grow them by working on projects. A few applicants might even use both approaches. 

For example, software developers may complete courses and projects to improve their programming abilities – which you can evaluate with a programming skills test.

By asking why they prefer specific methods, you can find out how they learn best and easily match your training sessions to their learning style.

4. Are you most productive in a busy or calm work environment? Explain why.

Although some applicants are productive in a calm environment, others might work well under pressure and prefer a busy one.

The optimum way to assess your candidates’ responses is to check if their preferences match your company’s environment. If your organization’s work is fast-paced, you should look for candidates with experience working in this type of atmosphere.

If your company’s work environment varies, it’s important to determine if candidates can adapt to both types. Ask follow-up questions about your candidate’s current work environment to learn more about where they work best.

5. Tell me about a time you had to use a unique or creative strategy to motivate employees.

Motivating others requires applicants to be motivated themselves, which you can assess with a Motivation skills test. But if you need more information about their passion and drive, ask them this unique interview question. 

Here are some creative strategies applicants might use to motivate their employees:

  • Reward good performance

  • Encourage new ideas

  • Provide a healthy competitive environment

  • Check in with employees in one-on-ones

  • Enhance work-life balance

  • Avoid micromanaging employees

See if candidates have successfully implemented these strategies and if their methods inspired employees to perform better at work.

Candidates who mention specific metrics they use to validate these methods and show how their employees’ performance improved are the ones to consider hiring.

How should you use unique interview questions and skills testing to hire professionals?

A proven way to use unique interview questions and skills testing to hire top talent is to start with skills testing when candidates apply for the role.

Skills testing is the most efficient way to evaluate applicants before shortlisting them for an interview. You simply need to pick five tests from our platform and add a few optional custom questions to create an assessment with TestGorilla.

This method is ideal because you can make a candidate shortlist quickly and forget about resume screening. You can also assess multiple skills and traits with just one assessment.

After skills testing, make sure you learn more about applicants by asking unique interview questions in the interview phase.

Hire experts for your company with unique interview questions

There is no easier way to hire experienced experts for your team than using skills assessments and unique interview questions. But what are your next steps?

We recommend that you check out TestGorilla to learn why it’s the perfect platform for easy hiring. See how it works by signing up for a free demo.

Once you’ve learned about our platform’s features, visit our test library to find hundreds of skills tests, like our personality and culture tests, for your assessment. You can then create an assessment, ask candidates to complete the tests, and proceed with interviews.

Hiring top talent is easy with the right methods. Sign up for TestGorilla for free to start taking a data-first hiring approach. Use the questions we’ve provided and our skills tests to evaluate professionals and hire top candidates for your team.

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