Character interview questions around curiosity

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It can be easy to miss important information about a candidate during a quick interview.

That’s why more employers are trying unusual approaches to discern candidates’ critical thinking or their ability to handle the unexpected.

However, there’s still one area that employers and hiring managers overlook: intellectual curiosity.

An intellectually curious person has the motivation and desire to learn more. They ask questions about the day-to-day process as well as the big picture.

It’s an invaluable trait to find in a job candidate.

A curious employee can have a great impact on your company. They want a deeper understanding of the task at hand and will not be satisfied with checking items off of a to-do list.

Hiring managers can learn a great deal about a candidate by asking interview questions that gauge their curiosity.

Here are just a few you should be asking to gauge their level of curiosity. Be sure to assess their answers, demeanor, and thought process behind each response.

“How do you handle different perspectives?”

A diversity of perspectives is critical for success. It brings a wider pool of resources, skills, and opinions to your decision-making process.

Intellectually curious individuals are comfortable taking in different points of view, thinking holistically, and applying fresh outlooks, ideas, and creativity to a project.

They pay attention to what’s going on around them and are drawn to anything that strikes them as smart, efficient, or interesting.

Their curiosity commonly leads them to consider the influences of other industries or the way that other professionals work, even if they are unrelated to their own job.

“What is your approach when facing a challenging obstacle?”

Intellectually curious employees are more likely to get excited about a new challenge or project. They take interest in finding smarter ways to solve problems and finish assignments.

Learning how a they would tackle an obstacle gives the interviewer a sense of what knowledge a candidate already knows and what information the candidate knows they need to learn before making a decision.

When given a complicated situation, intellectually curious individuals are more inclined to ask questions and try a new approach to the same – and possibly dated – ways.

“Tell us a time when you took ownership of your work?”

Workers with intellectual curiosity are motivated to dig into their work on a deeper level.

They look for and often find a new or interesting approach to their work. This mentality allows them to take a positive attitude and greater ownership over their own projects – often exceeding expectations or goals.

Having intellectually curious team members can boost your overall company culture and morale.

Employees who take pride in their individual projects and in team assignments have the potential to inspire others around them as well.

Additional questions to gauge intellectual curiosity

When interviewing a candidate, be sure to include a few questions that shed light on their natural learning patterns and interests. These questions might include:

  • “What do you do for fun?”
  • “What books have you read lately?”
  • “How do you learn new things?”
  • “How do you strive for self-improvement?”
  • “Are you self-taught in any skills?”
  • “What interests you the most about this position?”
  • “What is your favorite news outlet?”

The key intellectual curiosity indicator

There is one golden rule when it comes to interviewing for intellectual curiosity: The candidate will usually come with a lot of questions.

Look for candidates who ask questions throughout the interview. While nearly every candidate will ask pre-planned ones at the end of the interview, an intellectually curious individual will likely have follow-up questions based on your conversation.

Their natural interest in the conversation, the factors that go into their role, and the way the company works can reflect a deeper curiosity than the typical candidate.

Find the talent you need

Struggling to find the right candidate? Whether you’re looking for specific technical experience or hard-to-quantify soft skills, we can help you recruit and onboard top workers.

Reach out today and let’s talk about your recruiting needs.



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