Any candidate familiar with the interview process will no doubt be well versed in answering the generic questions a hiring manager might ask them.

While a potential employee may appear perfect on paper and tick all the right skill boxes, employers need to make sure they’re getting the full story before they make a commitment to hiring.

The best way to gain an insight into what a candidate actually thinks and how they’re likely to operate within a work environment is to surprise them with a couple of imaginative, behavioural interview questions.



These aren’t your typical, “how do you deal with stress, work as part of a team, or lead in a managerial role?” type questions, where the answers will come back at you as quickly as you ask them.

Instead, to get a proper insight into a candidate’s character and work ethic, it’s often necessary to get rid of the formalities and pose your questions in a more conversational tone.

So, for example, if you ask a candidate to “tell me about the last time you were wrong in the workplace” or “what was the last piece of constructive criticism you received?” you’re more likely to draw out the real person sitting across the table.

And, you’ll learn even more by keeping them talking with supplementary questions such as “what happened next? How did the other person feel? What was the outcome? And so on.




Here are three sample behavioural interview questions we’ve put together which will provide you with insight into what makes your candidates tick.

  • Describe a time when you knew you were right but were obliged to back-track due to guidelines or protocol.
  • What was the most difficult work-based decision you had to make in the last year?
  • Tell me about a time when you annoyed a customer or work colleague.

While such questions will no doubt prove challenging for even the most seasoned interviewee, they will, if asked sensitively, open an invaluable dialogue and provide you with an insight into a candidate’s previous experiences and their attitudes towards work in general.