Killer Ninja Interview Questions: Why They’re Deceptively Revealing

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To say that the job interview is a pretty important part of the employee selection process is like saying that denial is a pretty big reason why Donald Trump wears that mangled fur he calls hair.

The interview is the most important part of the employee selection process. It’s the only chance you get to speak with a candidate one-on-one before you’ve got to lock yourself in your office and decide which lucky dog gets the job offer.

Unfortunately, it’s kind of hard to get to know someone during the few minutes that you have during an interview. That’s why it’s key to use this teensy amount of time wisely.

Easy to answer but deceptively revealing

Interview Ninjas ask questions that are easy to answer yet deceptively revealing, and if you want to be one, you can. With just a few creative queries, you’ll gain penetrating insight into a candidate’s hopes, dreams and darkest secrets.

Here are some killer ninja-style questions to get you started.

The Question: If you were given control of this company for a year, what would you do and why?

Why Ask It: This question doesn’t just tell you whether or not a candidate has bothered to research your company – it gives you powerful insight into his or her values and professional ambitions. A response like “I would give everyone a raise” is of course unacceptable.

But a candidate who says, “I would begin a new project to do [X] because I’ve noticed a need for that in the marketplace, and I think this company has the resources to make it happen” shows a lot of potential.

Throwing a curve in the interview

The Question: What’s something weird about you that you’re secretly proud of?

Why Ask It: To make truly informed hiring decisions, it’s a good idea to throw your candidates a curve every once in a while. This fun question will catch them off guard and force them to think creatively, and how they respond should give you an idea of how well they would fit into the company culture. People who have a good sense of humor should be able to come up with something amusing.

The Question: What was the biggest failure of your career? If you had a second chance, what would you do differently?

Why Ask It: As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Judge a man on how he reacts to failure, not success.” Everyone screws up once in a while, but that shouldn’t disqualify the person from the employee selection process.

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Good candidates should be able to take responsibility for what went wrong in their careers, and they should be able to discuss what they learned from their experiences. Take a closer look at applicants who demonstrate that they’ve grown as people and as professionals.

Testing problem-solving ability

The QuestionYou can telepathically communicate with animals. How would you command the animal kingdom to overthrow society?

Why Ask It: This is another curveball question, but this time you’re testing a candidate’s problem-solving ability. Humanity has weapons of mass destruction. The animal kingdom has swarms of bugs and a few sharp teeth. Applicants will need to think outside the box for this one.

Would your candidate send whales to disrupt trade routes? Would she order squirrels to chew away at the power lines in Manhattan? Or would he just give everyone a puppy and ask them politely to surrender? The person’s response should give you some interesting things to discuss during the hiring assessment.

These ninja-style inquiries can’t tell you everything you need to know about your field of candidates to make good hiring decisions, but they tell you a lot. By catching your interviewees off guard and making them think on their feet, you’ll have the chance to evaluate their creativity, their adaptability, their attitude and their ambitions.

Even though you’ll only talk to a candidate for a few minutes, it’ll seem like you’ve known them forever by the end of the conversation. And that can do nothing but help when it comes time to pick out one that’s right for you.

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.

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