When did interview questions become a broken record? When a job interview feels like one long, boring cliché of tired behavioral questions, it’s easy to lose interest in the role. As a millennial enjoying the carousel of the same old interview questions, you’d be happier to hear “It’s a Small World After All” on repeat than sit through another repetitive interview.
It’s time to shake up the interview experience, and say goodbye to those snooze-worthy questions. Goodbye, “What’s your worst quality, and what’s your best?” Say farewell to five-year vision quest questions and humdrum examples of how you always kept the customer happy. Consider these 10 unique job interview questions for millennials to expect in the new hire world:
1. Which TV Character Best Describes Your Professional Work Ethic?
Is the work environment like “The Office” or “The Bold Type?” A small organization may pick a television show and advertise with it: “Are you our Jim Halpert?” These ads make it easier for millennials to pick out a fun work culture from a few words.
Which TV character most resembles your qualities at work? Talk about the character’s personality and challenges faced at their office and the parallels with your real-world work experience.
2. What’s Your Philosophy on Tipping Servers?
While you may think of this question as something more appropriate to silently observe during dates, consider how the company is also professionally courting candidates for a prospective hiring match. How this person treats others in the hospitality industry, in theory, informs how they will look down on their “subordinates” and team members.
The millennial generation has faced the fight for a living wage, stressing how raising the wage offers intrinsic protection for workers and their families. Millennials understand it’s important to give back while maintaining your standards, and that surviving isn’t thriving.
3. How Do You Prefer to Receive Positive and Constructive Feedback?
Ideally, an employer will get to know the candidate’s style of receiving feedback during the interview process before pegging a millennial for being too narcissistic or sensitive. It’s important to address both positive and constructive feedback because everyone prefers receiving these types of feedback differently.
Someone may prefer a face-to-face meeting to discuss constructive criticism while receiving pats on the back via email. Do you like gift cards or want to be invited to the next exclusive networking event? Are team pizza parties still in?
4. Talk About a Time You Were Passed Over for a Promotion You Thought You Deserved.
This question gets to the point and allows you to address how you handled a situation that likely crushed you. Did you suck it up? Did you shake hands with your fellow employee? Was this the last straw in a series of moments where you felt invisible? What did you do about it?
Your professional-sounding response to this prompt will show an employer how you absorb disappointments, how you advocate for your personal and professional value and if you give congratulations where they’re due, regardless of perceived failure.
5. What Have You Done in Your Past That Will Help You Get the Job Done Here?
Younger millennials lack the work experience older professionals have had. Someone has to give them a chance to speak up, and sometimes phrasing is all that holds the applicant back. Instead of asking, “What prior work experience will help you excel in this role?”, employers should keep it conversational.
If faced with the old question, millennials should rephrase it in their minds. Search your memories for applicable experiences during an old internship, volunteer experience or your personal life. Keep your options open, and don’t feel limited by the phrasing.
6. Ever Had to Hide a Tattoo on a Job, Deal With Inconvenient Scheduling or Wear a Work Uniform? How Did You Deal With This?
Millennials are a generation of individuals who stand up for their rights and prefer independence. Did you have to hide an alternative religious symbol, such as a pentacle? Did you have to cover up a small, but elegant, tattoo on your back or ankle? Did you manage to wake up on time for the day shift, even though you’re a night owl? What happened, and how did you take it?
Your answer to this question reveals your coping skills, as well as your ability to compromise and stand up for yourself in a professional manner.
7. If You Were Given Time Off to Volunteer, What Type of Work Would You Choose? Why?
Millennials prefer employers who are conscious of their impact on the community and the world at large, and who do something about that. They will research a company’s mission statement and record of corporate service projects. In fact, of those born from 1981 to 1996, 62 percent of millennials desire a position with a company that makes a good impact, and employers are increasingly focusing on sustainability and transforming corporate values into social ones.
Does the company wear ribbons for breast cancer awareness or run marathons for multiple sclerosis? Does the company do something beyond “what’s expected,” and does that match up with your volunteer experience or lifestyle? This question shows an openness to going the extra mile in service.
8. How Do You Get Your Daily News?
Does the applicant stay in touch with the daily world? Is it through the newspaper, local TV station, conversation, in social media feeds or specific news sites? Do they read what’s trending or listen to a podcast? Do they listen to multiple sources?
This question informs the company how you receive and analyze information while showing an interest in the world beyond yourself.
9. In Which Setting Would You Function Best: Open Office, Traditional Office or Home Office?
Does the employer have a remote opportunity, or are they considering it? Some live in their pajamas and do stellar work, while others would sleep all day. The hum of productivity is infectious in open office layouts, but coworkers who talk too much may be distracting.
Provide clarity about how these various settings affect your work ethic, productivity and mood. The employer may offer flexible work days and environments.
10. Are You a Morning Lark or Night Owl?
As teenagers, most people stayed up late, but eventually had to outgrow that. Do you feel limited and fatigued by constrictive 9-to-5 work hours? It may be possible for you to start your day at a little later at the office if you leave later, or you may be offered another flexible work arrangement.
Night owls are just as productive as morning larks if they have a choice about when they get their work done. The workday is becoming more flexible as more people take on varied work hours outside of the traditional ones, especially for the remote workforce.
Forget those boring interview questions, because customized questions are going to be the new norm in the new hire world. From TV character work ethic to being a night owl,
What boring questions shouldn’t be allowed during an interview? What unique questions would you like to hear in an interview? Want more interview tips? Keep the conversation going by commenting, sharing and subscribing to Punched Clocks.
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