38 Thought-Provoking Interview Questions And Sample Answers

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Related: Top Interview Questions and Answers | Indeed India

We'll discuss five common interview questions. For each one, we will explain what employers are really looking for in an answer and break down how to create strong responses.

Employers usually ask complex questions during interviews that compel candidates to think critically. Insightful questions can help the recruiting managers to gather enough information about a candidate that can help make better hiring decisions. Analysing examples of thought-provoking questions can guide you in preparing a better response to the questions for your interviews. In this article, we discuss why employers ask thought-provoking interview questions and provide 38 questions you can expect in an interview and some sample answers you can use as a guide while preparing your responses.

Why Do Employers Ask Thought-Provoking Interview Questions?

Employers ask thought-provoking interview questions to allow candidates to express their views and opinions on complex topics related to the position for which they are applying. Thought-provoking questions enable interviewers to understand candidates' motivations, values, goals and interests. A candidate's answers to these types of questions may help employers determine if they are a suitable candidate for the role and the organisation.

Related: 5 Common Tricky Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

10 General Interview Questions

Following are some general interview questions that are thought-provoking:

  1. How do you keep yourself motivated when working on a project that takes longer to finish?

  2. What two adjectives your friends may use to describe you?

  3. What is your greatest strength?

  4. Is there any skill you want to develop or enhance?

  5. What can employers do to help you in your roles?

  6. Share an example of a time when you compromised and explain how you felt about it.

  7. What is your biggest weakness?

  8. Why do you want to work with this organisation?

  9. What makes this job more satisfying for you?

  10. What do you value most in your jobs?

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10 Questions About Experience And Background

Following are 10 thought-provoking questions regarding experience and background:

  1. What key components of your background qualify you for this position?

  2. Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge at work and how you overcame it?

  3. Describe how you have improved as an employee?

  4. What is the most challenging project of your career?

  5. Have there been any notable successes or challenges in your career?

  6. How can you add value to our organisation?

  7. How did your major in school prepare you for today's job market and economy?

  8. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?

  9. What is your biggest accomplishment?

  10. How are you different from other candidates applying for this position?

10 In-Depth Questions

Here are 10 in-depth interview questions an interviewer may ask you that are thought-provoking:

  1. What do you consider the biggest gap in our organisation and what steps may you take to address it?

  2. What does success mean to you and how do you know when you have attained it?

  3. How can we make our organisation more profitable or successful in the future?

  4. What challenges do you see the company facing in the next few years and how can you help us prepare?

  5. What do you think is the best way to encourage creativity in an organisation or team?

  6. Tell me about the things that inspire you?

  7. How do you define yourself?

  8. What is one piece of advice or knowledge that has changed your life and how?

  9. What values are most important to you?

  10. What kind of organisational culture do you prefer?

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8 Thought-Provoking Interview Questions With Sample Answers

Here are six thought-provoking interview questions with sample answers you can use as a guide when preparing your response for the interview:

1. How do you handle a situation where two people are not working well together?

Employers may ask this question to check your ability to resolve workplace conflicts. If your position requires you to work in a team or collaborate with others, this skill may be necessary for certain situations. Describe a situation in which you mediated an interpersonal conflict and discuss the positive outcomes of your intervention.

Example: "In my previous position as a school counsellor, I assisted students in resolving a few interpersonal conflicts. In one case, I asked two students to explain why they were at odds and helped them resolve their conflicts. The students were able to resolve their disputes and retain their friendships. I believe compromises enable both parties in a conflict to feel better about the situation and settle down to a beneficial solution."

Related: Answering The Interview Question, "What Are Your Ambitions?"

2. How do you manage stress in your job?

Employers may ask this question to assess your capabilities for handling potentially stressful situations in your new role. To respond to this question, detail specific activities and strategies you have used to relieve stress and explain how they worked for you.

Example: "Stress relief was critical in my previous position as a sales executive to maintain my motivation and effectiveness in the role. After each shift, I usually went to the gym to exercise and relieve the day's stress. Additionally, I attended therapy consistently to discuss any work-related stressors. This enabled me to maintain a high level of alertness throughout all calls and concentrate on individual tasks while at work to increase company sales and revenue."

Related: How Do You Handle Stress And Pressure? (With Tips To Answer)

3. How do you motivate yourself for working consistently?

Employers may ask you this question to better understand your daily motivations, which can help them predict how you can perform in the role. To respond to this question, describe your specific reasons for working and how they assist you in accomplishing your goals.

Example: "One of my greatest motivators is a willingness to help others in every way possible for me to ensure a better working culture and environment. In my previous position as a staffing specialist, I found great motivation in assisting people in finding meaningful work that enabled them to support themselves and their families besides improving productivity by 12%. This helped me to enjoy my work every day."

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4. Which was your best previous role and why?

Employers may want to identify your professional and personal interests by asking this question. This information allows them to determine whether the position you are interviewing for is suitable for you. While answering this question, give an example of a previous role you enjoyed along with the reason.

Example: "My previous position as an elementary school teacher provided me with maximum satisfaction. I taught children, inspired them to be successful in their lives and be kind to others and incorporated great habits that can make them ideal human beings. Whenever my students achieved success in their life, that satisfied me. My colleagues also appreciated me for my dedication to work."

5. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Employers may ask this question to learn more about your career objectives and why you are applying for the job. To respond to this question, be precise and honest about your long-term career goals and how the position you are interviewing for can enable you to achieve them.

Example: "I hope to run a theatre company within the next 10 years. The position as an assistant creative director for your theatre excites me immensely because I believe it can provide me with the experience necessary to accomplish these goals within the next 10 years."

6. What makes you a suitable candidate for this role?

Reviewing the job description before the interview helps you determine the skills and background the company requires of its employees and connect them to their expectations. You can also give an example of describing an event at one of your previous jobs in which you demonstrated those skills and added value to the organisation.

Example: "After researching about the organisation, I found you have a great work system in place and require organised employees capable of managing daily operations. My work history demonstrates a track record of success in organising and communicating with employees and I can apply these skills to the benefit of this organisation. Considering my skills and experiences in the industry, I believe I can be a suitable candidate for this role."

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7. Tell me something about yourself that is not on your resume.

Employers look for candidates who not only possess the necessary skills and qualifications for the job but also fit the company's culture. Your response to this question may demonstrate if you can succeed in this position. Frame a response that reflects your strengths and any relevant personal interests.

Example: "As a retail associate, I discovered that my favourite part of the job was constantly upselling products. I have set weekly objectives to upsell at least 20 times per week. It increased revenue for the store and provided me with a great deal of personal satisfaction. I want to work for this organisation as a sales executive because I believe your product is the leading in the market and I want to grow company revenue while continuing to enhance my sales skills."

8. What advice do you want to give to your former supervisor?

This question provides employers with information about a candidate's previous work relationships. Consider the aspects of your previous supervisor that you admired and the characteristics you wish your new manager possessed.

Example: "My previous supervisor provided detailed feedback and congratulated us on our accomplishments. My advice for my manager is to continue organising biweekly check-ins with their employees, as those meetings helped me grow as a professional."

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