No. This does not sound like your typical interview. But, to be honest, I think I would enjoy hearing these answers from time to time. It would be ... refreshing. Instead candidates give answers that sound good. They can prepare an 'acceptable' answer. So what can you ask to really let you learn more about a candidate?
I've been interviewing quite a bit recently - more often than not, I take a casual approach, generally knowing what information I want to cover. It turns out, most folks follow a similar 'unstructured' interview format. I learned, unfortunately, this format (and typical interview questions) just don't allow you to see the realities of the person. You are judging a book by its cover. Candidates manage their 'cover' closely, acting to create the most favorable impression. The Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology, as well as numerous other sources, quote Prof. Allen Huffcutt, who has done some serious examinations of interviewing and the link of interview assessment as a predictor to performance on the job. In the book Sway, he posits that most interview questions provide little value. He recommends focusing instead on job-related hypothetical scenarios, past experiences based on data and verifiable accounts, and/or aptitude tests.
These are some real and helpful points to consider! I still see value in the interview, so with Prof. Huffcutt's comments in mind, here are a couple good things you might add to your interview:
- What do you know about our company?
- Specific past experiences
- Job-related hypothetical scenarios
- What was the largest personal conflict / power struggle you have seen at work and how was it resolved? Or what do you think people might misunderstand about you?
- If talked to someone at Your Past Company, what would they say about you?
Keep in mind, as I imagine Prof. Huffcutt might remind us, the interview may give you nothing of value. So, I say make sure to take the opportunity to prepare the candidate and to sell the company! Give them a realistic picture of the company (yes, the bad stuff) and see how they react? Do they embrace it constructively and have suggestions for improvement? And of course, get them excited about the position, the team, and the company. If they turn out to be the dream candidate, then they need to be intrigued and enticed after talking to you.
What are some of your favorite interview questions?