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The Proust Questionnaire for Creatives

Artisan Creative - Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Proust Questionnaire for Creatives

 

You’ve heard of the Proust Questionnaire, I’m sure. Made famous in the back pages of Vanity Fair Magazine, it was named not for questions, but for the answers given by Marcel Proust to a set of questions asked by his friend Antoinette Faure.

I remember them best from a television show called “Inside the Actors Studio” where, at the end of every episode, host James Lipton would ask these questions of the famous actors he interviewed. His questions included: What is your favorite sound? What is your favorite curse word? If you weren’t an actor, what would you be instead?

Barbara Walters used a variation of the Proust Questionnaire in her interview with the Obamas a couple of weeks ago - which, in turn, inspired us at Artisan.

I asked our Recruiters what Proust-like questions they would like to ask (or do ask) when they interview talent, and I love the responses!  Definitely a lot more interesting than the adage “Tell me about yourself”, the answers to these questions reveal aspects of a candidate’s personality that help hiring managers determine if someone is the right cultural fit for their position.

And so I bring you…(drum roll, please)...The Proust Questionnaire for Creatives

Some that aren’t too outside the box:
  • What is your definition of creative?
  • What is your ideal job and where?
  • What inspires you?
  • Who is your favorite designer?
  • Who is your favorite architect?
  • What is your favorite source of design inspiration (website, magazine, blog, etc)?
  • What projects have you worked on that you are most proud of and why?
Some that would be fun to answer, take some real consideration but still be job related:
  • Name 3 things you could not live without?
  • What is your favorite part of the day or favorite part of your job?
  • We used to have the drop shadow, now we have the reflective surface, what do think is next?
  • What keeps you motivated?
Some that might make me wonder what they’re looking for exactly:
  • Where is your ideal travel destination and why?
  • What 3 things that you use in everyday life should be designed differently?
  • What was the last book you read?
  • What is your favorite TV show or Movie?
  • What is playing on your iPod right now?
And a few that I’ve honestly never thought about before an interview (but maybe I should)!
  • In your time away from work, what do you do?
  • Are you doing what you love or doing what pays the bills?
  • If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
  • If you could invite three people (dead or alive) to dinner who would they be and why? (P.S. Katty Douraghy and Melinda Geniza both came up with this one and tie for "Most Proustian Question"!)
  • Do you believe in aliens?
  • What's the most despicable act a creative supervisor has done/can do to you?

I’m definitely going to add some of these to my interview preparation list!

Granted - these are just some of the unusual questions potential hiring authorities could ask during an interview.  The best advice is to be prepared to answer these kinds of questions as honestly and calmly as possible. Guess that's just one more reason to do some practice interviews with imaginative friends!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative
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