A Unique Interview Results in a Better Hire

A Unique Interview Results in a Better Hire

Written by Nick Curtin

A unique interview is the key to hiring a great candidate. Many employers make the unfortunate mistake of not utilizing the interview process to really get to know the interviewee.  Apollo works with each individual as they prepare to interview and prep him or her with the upcoming expectations. Most times, the hiring managers can become overly concerned whether or not the person is qualified for position. Understandably so; however, this candidate interviewing for the job is not a robot; they have feelings, beliefs, routines, future goals, etc. The interviewer must never underestimate the impact on a company from one individual – good or bad.  Therefore, as the interviewer, you should take the time to explore questions outside the qualification realm.  Specifically, you should explore questions related to self-improvement, behavioral tendencies, personality, and “turn-arounds” of classic questions. The English Journalist Lynn Barber best known for her interview prowess described that her best interviews were “– like the best biographies — should sing the strangeness and variety…” You heard it here, break away from the traditional and get to really know your interviewee.


Self Improvement

It is not enough that the candidate is capable of performing the job today. The person that is hired should want to increase their level of acumen within their field – continuously learning, keeping up with the latest trends, seeking certifications, etc.

Have you noticed any blind spots in our business and how would you improve or eliminate them? Assess candidate knowledge of your business and industry and business acumen with questions like this, while also looking for an honest approach.

What was the last class, seminar, course, or workshop you attended, and why did you take it? Do you plan on continuing your education within this field, if so, how? This reveals where candidates are in their level of commitment to keeping skills and knowledge up to date.


Oft times there are several characteristic descriptions on candidate’s resumes, take advantage of them and inquire about it. Not only will you be able to gather a keen understanding of their integrity, but you will learn how the candidate works as well.

Describe your system for planning and organizing your work? A candidate that maintains that they are a  ‘detail-oriented’ should be able to relate their process and direction quite seamlessly, whereas a less-organized person will take much longer, and provide a disjointed response.

When have you motivated others? If leadership is listed as a quality, then this question will drive right to the point where a person took the initiative and inspired others. A candidate should not only reaffirm that they are a leader, but the question should elicit a confident response that details the situation and how they led: whether from the middle, in the trenches, or leading the charge.

When have you changed someone’s mind about an idea you supported, but the other person did not? A person that states they are an effective communicator should be able to draw on some examples of persuasive endeavors or building bridges of collaboration between parties.


Every interviewee has on the model interview game face. In order to break the façade of perfection, you can enlist the assistance of the questions below.

  • What is the last movie you saw?
  • Tell me about your favorite book, movie, and game? Why does that sticks out to you? Tell me about a role model and why you look up to them?
  • What are your top three values?
  • If you could be doing anything, what do you do?

To discover a candidate’s true passions and interests, will allow the company to play to them in order to get the best out of the candidate.

Turn-around Classic Questions

Given the immense fountain of knowledge that is the Internet, most candidates will have reviewed the traditional interview questions and create premeditated answers for them. Therefore the following questions are classic questions with their very own spin them.

Start the Interview off with: Do you have any questions for me?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you tried really hard, but couldn’t accomplish your goal? Why did this happen and what did you do? (Old Translation: Describe a time that you failed?) This questions drives at one of the most important qualities a person can possess, perseverance.  As the hiring manager, you should be looking for a detailed response rather than a deflecting, mechanized answer.

Where don’t you want to be in five years? (Old Translation: Where do you want to be in five years?)


Keep in mind personalities and behaviors do not necessarily have to match that of yours or the current employees.  After all friction creates sparks so it is essential to analyze all the aspects that the interviewee will bring to your team and how it will mesh. When you integrate these 4 fields along with the qualification bit of the interview, you will have a much better understanding of the quality of candidate that sat before you.

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