If you’re expecting to go into your interview knowing everything that will be asked of you, you might want to think again. Besides the typical “one strength” and “one weakness” questions, many hiring managers want to know if you can think on your feet—and you can expect them to put you to the test in some pretty surprising ways.
We asked eight entrepreneurs from YEC to share the one unique test or question they use on candidates to get to know them better. While they’re all a little bit different, they typically all have one thing in common: There’s no one right answer. Instead, they’re looking to get more insight into your personality as well as how you approach difficult situations.
1. Problem-Solving Tests
Whether it’s a Rubik’s Cube or a real problem our company is facing, I pick different things for interviewees to try and solve. They don’t have to solve the entire thing either—it’s more about seeing how they tried to tackle it. It helps me get an idea of how and where they would fit in.
—Cynthia Johnson, American Addiction Centers
2. The Ping-Pong Test
Although we don’t do this every time, my company has been known to invite interviewees to a game of post-interview ping-pong. It sounds silly, but it’s actually a great way to help people loosen up and reveal more of their character. I like seeing how different types of candidates respond to challenges or successes during the game and how that affects their interpersonal dynamic.
—Rob Bellenfant, TechnologyAdvice
3. Myers-Briggs and DiSC Tests
These tests allow me to understand my applicant’s attitude, strengths, and weaknesses. They also give me a better understanding of how I can successfully lead this person and what I should do when her strengths and weaknesses show up. Not only does this align my vision and help me analyze the applicant’s values, but I also learn what makes her tick, what her priorities are, and how she reacts to certain situations.
—Daisy Jing, Banish
4. The Keirsey Personality Test
We ask each potential employee to do a Keirsey temperament test before we interview him or her. I’ve found that interviews alone don’t give you a great glimpse into someone’s personality and attitude. If someone’s good at interviewing, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s good for the job, and if he’s nervous during the interview, it doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t have the right personality for the role.
—Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital
5. The “Desire” Test
When I interview a candidate, I always ask him what he desires from his job or career over the next three years. I call it the ‘desire test.’ Finding out how he sees his career evolving and if he thinks he’s the right fit for the company helps me figure out how much he knows about us, the job position, and whether he’s willing to go the extra mile to grow his career.
—Piyush Jain, SIMpalm
6. Creative Thinking Tests
I like to ask questions like, ‘How would you describe the color yellow to a blind person?’ or ‘If you could be a kitchen utensil, what would you be, and why?’ I ask these questions because I like to see how potential candidates creatively think on their feet. This gives me a lot of insight into how a person will handle day-to-day challenges.
—Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.
7. The “Weirdness” Test
During interviews, we like to ask, ‘How weird are you on a scale from one to 10?’ Being ‘weird’ or authentic and genuine is something we really value, so this type of question is more of a temperature check than anything else. We’re hoping to gauge how willing the interviewee is to let her guard down and be herself. We want to work with someone who answers this question with excitement.
—Chris Savage, Wistia
8. The Trial Run Test
We make the candidate a full-time employee for a day, with complete access to resources and the entire team. We want to see him in action—how he works with others, how he thinks about goals, and how he spends his time when he has nothing particular assigned.
—Pratham Mittal, Outgrow
Photo of interview courtesy of Sam Diephuis/Getty Images.