If you were an ice-cream flavour, what would you be…and other pointless interview questions

Authors: Carl Joseph VP Behavioural Products, & Steph Cittarelli Head of Community & Engagement at Gooroo

Interview questions are not the silver bullet hirers hope for. So why do we spend so much time getting candidates to tell us their favourite ice-cream flavour, or to talk about a time when they had a manager they didn’t like.

We are not the flavours we choose!

Recruitment sites are full of listicles like ‘Top 10 Best interview questions” and “9 traits of ideal candidates” — these are great fodder for those green recruiters looking to impress a client, and forces candidates to consider why they applied to the job in the first place!

Truth is, none of these questions tell us much about who that person is, what they value now, how that might change, or ultimately how well they will perform in their new job.

What if, we could ask better questions? If there were a way to know what questions to ask, then we may begin to unlock the secrets that drive a person forward. Only when we get to this point can we unravel the potential of what that person could offer within an organisation or team. With that knowledge, we can understand not only what flavour of ice-cream they enjoy, but why they don’t like ice-cream at all.

Socrates was well known for asking better questions. His questions lead to further, deeper conversations. So much so that they made people uncomfortable and he eventually got put to death for it. These days, asking better questions won’t end up with you having to drink a cup of poison hemlock, however, getting deeper insight into people’s thinking should be our aim.

Gooroo’s Mindspace platform is designed entirely around this premise. Generating a multi-dimensional insight map of the way in which people think, how they go about making particular decisions, and how much of their skill they can bring to your vacant position.

Gooroo’s assessment tools allow you to assess potential candidates against your established benchmarks to ensure that the person being hired will positively contribute to the performance of your team. Gooroo measures across the dimensions of expertise (knowledge, skills, thinking approach in specific techniques and technologies), experience (formal and accumulated competence established from past work, education and training); and engagement (behaviours that an individual performs, to bring energy, effort and passion).

These factors ( Three E’s) combine to change the way we think about recruitment — away from CVs and skill assessments and instead toward unlocking patterns of innovation, tenacity, resilience and potential; in all types of candidates.

So next time you’re asking a candidate what animal they would be and why, stop and ask yourself what you really need to know about them. What questions could help you understand their motivations, their priorities, their aspirations? How might you be able to gauge how they might work under pressure, if they will they resist change, or be the innovator you need to take your business further.

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