Character Interview Questions Around Curiosity

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It is all too easy to miss important information about a candidate in the brief time that an interview usually requires. More and more, employers are asking questions that discern critical thinking – but there’s still one area that most employers or hiring managers are forgetting: intellectual curiosity. An intellectually curious person has a burning desire to learn more and is not afraid to ask questions. In the workplace, this trait is demonstrated by employees who question the methods behind their tasks. They want a deeper understanding of the task at hand and are not satisfied with surface level explanations.  It is important that you are asking interview questions that gauge candidate curiosity – be sure to assess their answers, demeanor, and thought process behind each response. Data shows that a level of curiosity for the field employees are in can carry them far and have great impacts on the company – a curious employee is a valuable employee! Here are some of the best questions you should be asking candidates to gauge their level of curiosity.

“How Do You Handle Different Perspectives?”

Intellectually curious individuals commonly pay attention to their surroundings more than most, even when something doesn’t seem outwardly linked to their own work or daily life. They 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. Perspective diversity is important because it brings a wider pool of resources, skills, and opinions. This type of perspective enables intellectually curious individuals to think holistically and apply fresh outlooks, ideas, and creativity to given projects.

“What is Your Approach When Facing a Challenging Obstacle?”

Employees who are intellectually curious are more likely to apply optimism to their challenges and projects. They take interest in finding new approaches to problem solving. When considering a solution that would strike others as outlandish or too difficult to apply, an intellectually curious individual is inclined to say, “why not?” rather than continuing to solve the problem in the same – and possibly dated – ways.

“Tell Us a Time Where You Took Ownership Of Your Work?”

A good dose of intellectual curiosity motivates employees to dig into their work on a deeper level. They tend to find the interesting angle for most – if not all – given projects, and this mentality allows them to have a generally positive attitude and take greater ownership over their own projects, often exceeding expectations or goals. Employees who show a strong level of autonomy for their projects and on different teams often inspire others around them to be more engaged as well. Because of this, having intellectually curious team members can boost your overall company culture and morale.

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: if the candidate is asking you a lot of questions, they are likely to be intellectually curious. Look for candidates who ask follow-up questions throughout the interview; nearly every candidate will ask questions at the end of the interview, but an intellectually curious individual will likely come up with new questions on the spot based on what you are discussing. Their natural interest in the conversation, the factors that go into their role, and the way the company works should all reflect a deeper curiosity than the typical candidate. If you find yourself answering questions about any of these areas throughout an interview, odds are you’ve found a candidate with intellectual curiosity.



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