Once you have interviews lined up with your most promising candidates, it’s important to come up with a reliable game plan to get the full picture of whether they will be a good fit for your needs. It’s not just interviewees that need to prepare and do their homework before the big day. Interviewers should also prepare a list of high-quality questions that will help to determine the leadership potential of a candidate within a management position.

But you might want to consider throwing in a curveball or two. Surprising interview questions are an interesting recruitment tactic that may help you learn more about your candidates than any other traditional question you might ask. Here are a few reasons why you might want to ask something a little off the wall.

1. Get Them to Relax

In television production, often interviewees will be asked a strange or surprising question to get them to loosen up and relax a little before the real interview questions begin. Oddball questions like what you had for breakfast or why is the sky blue are a fun icebreaker and if used with a sense of humor can help encourage a candidate to get more comfortable and build a stronger rapport with the interviewer. This, in turn, helps you to get past the mask they have felt the need to put on as a candidate and really learn about who they are as a person.

2. Evaluating Culture Fit

Strange or oddball questions are not primarily asked to trick a person but are really helpful at uncovering qualities about a candidate that can’t be determined from a resume or even a skills test. They are designed to uncover how someone thinks, handles unexpected problems and situations, and whether they are a good fit for the culture. They uncover in real time what a person would be like to work with, which is not something they would necessarily be prepared to share with you. You can learn about otherwise hidden biases or concerns as well by asking a question that they are less prepared to answer than some of the more common interview questions.

3. Learn about Their Thought Process or Problem-Solving Skills

One of the toughest but most telling interview question types is the scenario-based question. By giving candidates a theoretical challenge or a crazy situation to work through, you are asking them to share their thought process with you in real-time. So many questions can be prepared for and practiced, but scenario style questions are less predictable. Therefore, you can be more confident in the sincerity of their answer. When thinking up a scenario to present, you have a couple of different options. You can invent a challenge that could potentially be an issue for the position in the future, or you could draw from past experiences to learn about what could have possibly been done better. The choice is yours but remember to keep it at least a little relevant for best results.

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