5 Unstructured Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 7 September 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.
Unstructured interview questions, or informal interview questions, do not have a specific structure or a format. With such questions, hiring managers intend to explore different topics to make the interview process flexible and subjective and gauge your personality, strengths, aspirations and accomplishments. Learning answers to some important unstructured interview questions can help you prepare well for a job interview. In this article, we share sample answers to some informal interview questions, along with some tips to help you succeed in such interviews.
5 Unstructured Interview Questions And Example Answers
Below are five unstructured interview questions with their sample answers to help you prepare your own responses:
1. Tell us about yourself
Interviewers generally start conversations with this question, as it allows them to determine your personality traits. The rest of the interview discussion may be based on the information you choose to include in your answer, so consider mentioning the details that you are comfortable sharing with them. An impressive response to this question might focus on your strengths and abilities, so include the skills that you think make you a suitable candidate for the position. Adding why you are interested in the specific role in their organisation may also allow you to give a comprehensive answer to this question.
Example answer: "I am a journalism professional who is presently working with one of the biggest media houses in the country. I began working with a media house as an entertainment writer nine years ago. My experience in the mass communication industry made me realise how passionate I am about conveying complex ideas lucidly. I am also interested in improving my graphic and designing skills to create appealing visuals for my written stories. As a self-driven and result-oriented journalist, I proactively volunteer to support my editors with their duties.
This quality has enabled me to excel in my career. Some senior positions were challenging in the beginning, but with my professional experience and proficiencies in this field, I was able to justify my roles. I am interested in the role of associate editor in your organisation because I believe that this media house can offer me the opportunity to have a greater impact on my team, society and the country. When I am not working, I like to play string instruments. Presently, I am also involved with an organisation that helps children who are on the spectrum."
2. What, according to you, is an ideal job?
With this question and your answer, interviewers seek to evaluate your work values and if they align with the mission and vision of their organisation. To give an impressive answer, research their company culture and align your response with this information. You may also concentrate on including your greatest strengths, what you are good at, what motivates you and what you enjoy doing the most. Consider refraining from mentioning a specific position, but you may include characteristics of the job and align them with your abilities.
Example answer: "I was in school when I started thinking about a job that may satisfy me as a professional and help me discover greater meaning in life. Soon, I found that becoming a published author may be a dream job for me. I do not see it as a job but as an opportunity to utilise my storytelling skills. This vision of the dream job inspired me to pursue a bachelor's degree in journalism. As I pursued this course, to enhance my writing and creativity skills, I also worked as an intern with a news publication.
There was a column for video game reviews and my editor asked me to review games every week. I enjoyed playing those games with enticing stories, which helped me to write engaging reviews. The work environment there was also highly flexible, which now I consider an integral part of an ideal job. Editors, there really valued creative expression, which I learned when I was relatively young. As I progressed, I found out that creative writers understand the significance of these factors. I believe that copywriting aptly aligns with these aspects and my attention to detail skills."
Related: How To Crack A Job Interview
3. Tell us about the accomplishment that you are most proud of and why
The answer to this question helps interviewers to know about your greatest accomplishment with which they may determine your work ethic, core values and the confidence that you possess in your skills. Explain this accomplishment with the help of an example to impress the hiring manager. Select an achievement that is relevant to the position for which you are applying.
Example answer: "In my last position, I was responsible for training freshers for our web news desk. I analysed the training programme completion rate, along with reviewing course evaluation forms. With the help of this assessment, I found out that many freshers experienced challenges in retaining the training information. After consulting with my seniors, I redesigned the content for the training programme and developed content that was more interactive. After this, the organisation was able to raise the completion rate from 42% to 97%. We also received positive feedback from the freshers on this latest course evaluation form.
I am really proud of this development in my career. I consider it my greater achievement because I was able to offer a positive and lasting impact on the careers of these freshers. The fact that I added value to their professional life makes me happy and inspires me to do more for the professionals who have limited experience working in the mass communication field."
Related: How To Prepare For A Job Interview
4. Are you an individual who depends on others? If yes, then whom do you depend on?
When interviewers ask this question, they intend to assess your opinion about working in collaboration with people. In your response, mention why you value building personal and professional relationships with people and how these relationships help you to find success in your life. An effective answer includes the lessons that you have learnt by building and valuing your relationships.
Example answer: "I depend on several people. If I am not dependent on them largely for work, then I seek their support mostly for motivation, inspiration and happiness. Having friends and family has helped me to develop principles and allowed me to respect different perspectives and ideas. These relationships have enabled me to become an efficient team player, as with relationships I have learnt to identify individual strengths, communicate well and resolve conflicts. In my opinion, depending on others allows you to show faith in the capabilities of others and achieve shared goals quickly and efficiently."
5. What is your method for comparing the pros and cons when making decisions?
Your answer may demonstrate your logical reasoning, critical thinking, decision-making and problem-solving skills. Explain the process you follow and clearly define your methodical approach to developing solutions. Consider focusing on elucidating the reasons for taking a specific approach.
Example answer: "When I witness problems, my first step is to employ my logical reasoning. This helps me to determine the pros and cons of a solution. My method starts with identifying the problem. Then I try to comprehend the problem, along with its consequences. After this, I focus on developing ideas for solving the problem. The last steps are creating a plan of action and implementing the solution. For the comparison, I create a pros and cons list. If the pros side is longer than the cons side, I feel more confident in my solutions and problem management process."
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for interviews that are unstructured:
Remain honest and highlight your strengths
Your honest responses may help you to keep a positive flow of interview conversations that are both natural and sincere. With honest answers, you may show the actual strength of your character. By staying sincere throughout your interview, you may ensure that your opinions have more value. When you highlight your strengths, you show the importance of continuous growth and development. Aligning these skills with the requirements for a position is a great way to mention your abilities.
Address specific topics in your answers
During informal interviews, recruiters may not have standardised questions for you. With informal questions, interviewers expect you to address specific topics in your answers. For instance, if they ask you about the traits that separate you from other applicants, they intend to assess the characteristics of your personality. Research the role you are applying for and give an answer that matches your qualities and qualifications.
Prepare for the discussion as a behavioural interview
Behavioural interview questions are similar to informal interview questions. These may often begin with 'tell us about a time when…' or 'describe how…' and are common during informal interviews. With such questions, employers assess job candidates based on their past behaviour. To answer questions like these, consider examining the job description, reviewing your work experience and using the Situation, Task, Action and Result (STAR) method to structure your responses.
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