There are several questions a real estate agent should ask a brokerage manager when looking for a new professional home. Similarly, when a brokerage is seeking to hire new agents, the hiring manager should also be prepared with a set of questions for the prospective employee. Not just any questions will do, however. Managers need to ask the right ones to get the best candidates to join their teams, according to a article published July 11.

In “5 Unusual Questions Smart Hiring Managers Ask Potential employees,” blogger and business strategist Allan Smith offered these unexpected questions he said savvy business owners use to field candidates:

1. What have you done to educate yourself in the last year? Education can be obtained in many ways, so in addition to formal continuing education, hiring managers are looking for unique answers to this question.

“This question may catch candidates off-guard, and their answers could become quite creative,” Smith wrote. “We’re not referring to securing a place on a prestigious MBA program; it could [be] something as simple as reading an informative book.”

2. What resources do you require to fulfill your career ambition? This question goes beyond, “where do you see yourself in five years?” according to Smith. If potential employees can express in specific detail what they need to be successful in the future, then managers know they are long-term strategic thinkers. This is good, according to Smith, because it shows the candidate “didn’t simply use a scatter-gun approach when they applied to your company’s position as it fits in with their longer-term ambitions.”

3. What does leadership mean to you? Every organization needs employees who understand that leadership is a skill that should be cultivated by everyone who works there. What happens when the boss isn’t there?

“At the core of leadership is influence, and the more employees at your organization that can influence each other in a positive manner, the better,” Smith wrote.

4. What do you admire most about our competitors? Smith admits that this question is a bit unconventional, but asking it serves a unique purpose. Business owners who are aware of the competitions’ strengths know they can use their competitors’ ideas in a way that will help their businesses. Potential employees should be able to tell you what your competition does best.

“A candidate waxing lyrical about the strengths and weakness of the company is the minimum you would expect,” he wrote. “If they can take that one step further and articulate what the competition does well too, then they’ve really done their homework.”

5. If you could improve one thing about our product/service, what would it be?  “This question helps to identify those candidates, who are in tune with the company’s mission and are much more likely to be a good fit,” Smith wrote. Using Apple as an example, Smith explained how that company’s success hinges on the fact that everyone — even the “geniuses” in Apple’s retail stores — understands the company’s mission and has a true belief that they contribute to its success.