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Three Unexpected Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Are you sick of asking candidates the same questions during interviews, only to get the same, stale answers time and time again? Not only can this be incredibly boring (for both you and the interviewee), but it’s likely to result in your hiring team learning very little about a candidate’s work ethic, personality, and potential to be a solid fit for your company. Taking a slightly different approach to your line of questioning can prove to be extremely beneficial for hiring decisions. Here are three unexpected interview questions to better uncover candidates’ true selves:

Why do you want to leave your current job?

While this may seem like an obvious question, you’d be surprised how many employers don’t ask candidates specifically why they’re seeking a new opportunity. A candidate’s response can tell you a lot about their level of professionalism, goals, and aspirations for potential employment with your team. For instance, if a candidate bashes a current or former manager, this is a sign they may also talk about your company if a negative situation arises. Or, if they reveal that their current job is not giving them the tools or training to advance, this may indicate they’re willing to learn and grow within your organization. Overall, the nature and tone in which a candidate responds to this question serves as a strong reflection of how professionally they conduct themselves and speak of former employers.

How long are you willing to fail at this job before you succeed?

Most ambitious candidates won’t like to speak about themselves in the context of failing, but asking this question is essential for understanding their level of drive and willingness to learn. Candidates who handle this question well should answer in a way that shows they are open to learning from mistakes and seeking help and feedback as needed. If a candidate doesn’t answer the question directly – or veers away from accepting any form of future failure or expressing a desire to learn – it’s safe to say they may not embrace constructive criticism on the job.

What do you like to do for fun?

Candidates are typically so focused on selling their professional attributes that they’ll likely be caught off guard with a more personal question. Asking candidates what they enjoy doing in their spare time can shed some light on them not just as employees, but as people. After all, behind every employee is an individual with a full life outside of work. Getting a small glimpse into a candidate’s hobbies can give you a better sense of their personality, social skills, or community involvement. Sometimes this can be an indicator of cultural fit, helping you determine how well a candidate would mesh with your current team.


Asking interview questions that require candidates to think about themselves differently can be one of the most effective ways to find talent that fully aligns with your organization. In no time, you’ll create a more dynamic and engaging interview experience for both you and your candidates!


Does it seem impossible to find the right applicants for your workforce needs? Contact the talent acquisition specialists at HH Staffing, a top staffing firm based in Florida.


Until Next Time,


Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO, and Chief Servant

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Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings a fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high-performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.