There are so many important interview questions to ask when you’re interviewing a potential candidate. You might ask them about their previous experience, about their values, about their ability to work in a team, and more. But out of all of that, what is the best and most useful question to ask? You might be shocked when you hear it.
Are you ready? Well, here it is, the greatest interview question of all time:
What is your favorite movie of all time?
It sounds like a strange question, right? Surely, this blog can’t be suggesting that you hire someone where they like Dumb & Dumber or not. I suppose you want an explanation. Here it is:
People come into interviews ready to answer the run of the mill interview questions. They’ve likely rehearsed their responses to all the standard scenarios or cliché questions. This means that you don’t learn much more from the interview than the fact that they’re good at preparing for interviews. That’s why you ask for their favorite movie.
Switching It Up
By tossing in an oddball, unexpected interview question like “What is your favorite movie of all time?” the applicant is forced to go off script and answer on the fly. The answer itself is almost inconsequential (unless they say that their favorite movie is Gigli and then you can send them straight out the door). What matters is the applicant’s reaction to the interview question. You want to observe their thought process and level of comfort in dealing with the unexpected.
Unconventional is one way you could describe this interview question. It’s about finding a balance between what information you need to know about the applicant and what you can learn through observation in scenarios you create.
How To Ask It
This interview question is already absurd enough, so how do you meld it into the interview without it seeming too crazy? Start by asking two or three “traditional” interview questions about the applicant’s job history. Then, hit them with the unexpected question.
Another question you could ask is, “Why have you always let people tell you what to do?”
Why That Question Now?
It sounds odd, but it’s a great question in two ways. One, you get to learn why this person has never sought a position in leadership before. Two, it’s admittedly a little harsh and unexpected. Because of that, the way the person answers will tell you so much.
Do they get angry and defensive? Do they stay calm and explain the situation? Do they stammer and talk in circles? You want confident, level-headed employees that can capably deal with a crisis or unexpected situation. There is no better place to find out if they are that type of person than in the interview room.
Ask unexpected questions. Get your applicants to tell you about the time they disagreed with a customer and how they handled it. Ask them their top three workplace accomplishments. They’re all great, tried and true interview questions. You’ll be surprised by how much more you can learn with these!
Besides, do you really want to hire someone who thinks Twilight is the best movie of all time?
What odd interview questions do you like to ask? Better yet, what is your favorite movie? Let us know in the comments down below!
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.