When it comes to hiring within the commercial real estate industry, there’s a lot at stake. How do you know that good first impression is really a rock star hire and not a poser? The cost of a bad hire can be startling, so knowing creative interview questions can be a valuable skill. The goal is to have a genuine conversation that fosters a better understanding of that person.
So, to find out what you need to know, what sort of interview questions will get a candidate to open up about their experience and skills? How can you find out if they’re really right for your unique needs? It helps to get creative.
Part of the problem with interview questions, is there are only a handful of them commonly asked in job interviews. So, prospective candidates can easily look them up and craft a scripted response for each of them.
A lot of canned talking points and speaking past one another. It’s entirely unhelpful! To really make it in CRE, you need better than that. You need creativity to flip the script and open a helpful dialogue. You need interview questions that really work.
So, without further ado, here are ten of the most creative interview questions that most hiring managers in commercial real estate never think to ask.
Productive and Creative Interview Questions
1. What are some of the qualities you like most in yourself?
The qualities someone prides themselves in are most likely the qualities they will work to excel in. Even if they’re not as strong in those qualities as they think, their confidence will become a self-fulfilling prophecy over time. And they just might give an example or two of these qualities in action at their last job.
2. What adjectives would your co-workers use to describe you?
Similarly, the way a candidate believes they are perceived is important in how they view themselves. And they just might be a bit more accurate when discussing the perspective of others.
3. If magic exists, how would you define it?
The great thing about this creative interview question is how it touches on their passions and gives the interviewer an opportunity to gage the way the candidate responds (behavioral interview questions can predict the future). Are they literal or figurative? Do they pause to think or shoot from the hip? Are they imaginative or a clock puncher?
4. If you had $10,000 to help the needy, what would you do?
Questions that aren’t about work are great for bypassing scripted responses and touching on the true soul of a candidate. This one helps you understand what motivates them and what kind of person they are.
5. What led you to choose this line of work?
Uncovering what fulfills someone in this particular area of CRE is helpful in understanding their cultural fit as well as their long-term potential.
6. If you couldn’t live in the US, what other country would you live in, and why?
Before asking this question, determine just what you are looking for and what you hope to learn. There is no correct answer to this question, but the way it’s handled will tell volumes about how a prospect will behave on the fly and in creative situations.
7. What’s your favorite movie, and why?
Again, this quirky question doesn’t have a right answer. But it will help you better understand the heart of your prospective employee and what drives them.
8. Let’s pretend you are interviewing me; what questions would you ask?
This one literally flips the script by reversing roles for a moment. With the candidate completely off guard, pay special attention to the focus of their questions as well as their demeanor in a managerial role.
9. If you were one of our properties, which type would you be?
This one only works if you deal in multiple property types, of course. But the responses will lend keen insights into how well they know your business, your properties, and what they value most in your company.
10. What is something you recently learned?
This creative interview question should include a time limit during which you will observe the way the candidate organizes their response, checks in for feedback along the way, and expresses emotion. Much can be gleaned from listening to your candidate relate a short lecture or moral story.