“How would you solve problems if you were from Mars?” The case for unpredictable interview questions.

After carefully reviewing CV’s you can find the perfect candidate on paper. But how can you be certain they will do what they say they can?


Candidates will have already researched what questions they may be asked, so asking unpredictable questions alongside evidence-based questions will give you a real insight into their personality and problem-solving skills, especially when they haven’t rehearsed what they are going to say and are caught off guard.


A mixture of Evidence Based and Unpredictable interview Questions are the way forward.


Evidence-based interview questions


Firstly let’s take a look at some examples of evidence-based questions. To answer an evidence-based question is going to take more than a yes-no answer and will delve into the candidate’s previous experiences.

Remember to always ask for these points in your candidate’s answer:

  • Their methodology and assessment of the situation.
  • Ask for examples of situations they have encountered.
  • Did they encounter any problems?
  • What was the end result/outcome?


Evidence questions can be broken down into categories:

  • Problem Solving
  • Customer or Client relationship building and care
  • Communication and persuasion
  • Prioritisation and organisation
  • Team Work
  • Accountability and initiative
  • Motivation and Goal setting


Not all of these categories may be suitable for your role, so tailor the questions to suit.


Problem Solving.

Q: One of the challenges with this position is that we have strict deadlines to adhere too in line with our companies SLA and to ensure we are compliant with our governing body. How would you ensure deadlines are met?


Customer and Client relationship building and care

Q: Our client satisfaction is a main priority of our business, can you describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation with a client?


Communication and Persuasion

Q: Within this role you need to be able to communicate to clients and colleagues of all levels, tell me about a time when you had to change your communication style for different audiences, how you need to bring them around to your way of thinking?


Team Work

Q: Working on your own initiative is important however, so is working in a conducive manner with your team, can you describe a time when you helped a team member?


Accountability and initiative

Q: We look for our employees to work on their initiative and be accountable for their own workload. Can you describe a time when a supervisor wasn’t available to help with a problem?


Motivation and Goal Setting

Q: Can you describe something you’ve achieved that you were particularly proud of, what was your motivation behind it and how did this change your aspirations for the future?


Prioritisation and Organisation

Q: The role requires a high level of organisational skills, priorities can change suddenly, can you describe a time when you have handled a change in priorities?



How about ending the interview with something a little more unpredictable, King Recruit have devised some great questions…


  1. “If money and other restrictions were taken out of the equation, what would your alternative career be?” There is no right or wrong answer to this, however their answer will give you an insight into their personality.


  1. “How do you define success?” This is a difficult question to answer for any candidate, while there is no real “correct” answer to a question like this, it does tell you a few things, like whether they’re more motivated by personal gain or collective causes, and whether their perspective aligns with the team they’d be working with.


3. “Why are you memorable?” Loaded questions do have their place in a good interview, and there’s nothing like an existential question to get them to dig deep. This question forces candidates to not only think about what sets them apart from the other resumes in your stack but also how others view them and the impact they’ll make at the company if hired. You’ll get a perspective into their honesty, humility, self-awareness, and confidence.


  1. “Describe how you would make a cup of tea” Most candidates complete this task daily without paying any real attention, it’s interesting from a candidate point of you to see their thought process, do they go in chronological order, did they forget anything, they will mention putting the tea bag in the cup but did they remember getting a teaspoon from the drawer?


  1. Are you a hunter or a gatherer?” Companies like Dell is this question to gain insight into the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. If you are looking to hire a leader you would expect the candidate to answer as a hunter, if you are employing a Data Analyst you would expect them to answer gatherer.


Looking for a recruitment partner to find the best candidate? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with King Recruit on T:01392 790725 or email E:enquiries@kingrecruit.com