When it comes to interviewing a prospective employee, it’s best to be armed with questions that will allow you to judge that person fully. You need to extract as much information as possible from that half hour interview so you can go away and fully know whether they’re the person for the job.
So what do you ask?
Here are a few ideas. These questions have helped interviewers all over the world to make the right decisions. Learn from them and you can drastically improve our hiring technique and get the best person every time!
Why should we hire you?
Does that sound a bit harsh? Yes, it is, it puts the employee right on the spot, and while it’s probably not an opening question, it’s one to put near the start. How the person answers will give you some great insight into how they will handle the role.
But it’s also an opportunity for them. How well do they know your company? Do they know the role they’re applying for? What research have they done?
If this is a brand new role that has just been created, then is their answer to this question too specific? How could they know how they will be an asset to you if they don’t even know what the actual role is?
You need to dig deep into their answers and make sure they’re not only willing to give answers to your original question, but they should be asking you questions.
What motivates you?
You’re looking for honesty here. There are stock answers like “feeling that I’ve done a great job and helped so many people” and “helped propel the company to greater fortunes while working 18 hours a day”, so watch out for those.
What was the worse boss you ever worked for?
This will demonstrate tact. If they blurt out “oh, my current boss is a complete ogre who rules the office as a dictator and makes everyone’s life a misery” then you might be hiring a moaner.
How do you handle office conflict?
Again, a tact-based question that will enable you to understand the psychology of the person you’re interviewing. Are they the sort of person that will bite back and cause arguments? Or do they negotiate, understand other people’s point of view and disarm situations?
Do you think anything about this job will be challenging?
I asked this question once, and the answer I got was “nope, it looks pretty easy, shouldn’t be a problem at all.”
The person I was asking thought he was exuding confidence, but he just came across as cocky.
Where do you see yourself in x years?
Tailor this question based on the type of job. Usually, “5” years is a good one to go for, and you should look for their reaction. If they seem genuinely excited as they’re telling you their idea of the future, then this could be a very ambitious person. If they simply say “I dunno”, then they might not be the best fit.
Describe your best accomplishment in your work career
Again, this is an ambition style question. Find out what excited them about their accomplishments or even if they had any that they can discuss. It may be something that helped a past employer, it could be that they achieved a certain role. Each answer will give you an insight into their psyche. Will they be able to replicate that accomplishment in your company?
Describe the time you messed up at work
This is interesting. Will they be willing to accept that they messed up? Will they be willing to explain it to you and show that they learned from it? That’s the important point about this question.
Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone is willing to own up to those mistakes and learn from them. Learning from the past is what makes the future better.
On the flip side, if the answer is “blimey, there are so many to choose from…” maybe it’s the wrong person!
Do you think it’s OK to work overtime all the time?
Now, you have to be careful here. You’re not suggesting that this person should work all daylight hours for your company. In fact, there are legal requirements for companies to ensure certain working hours. But, it’s an interesting question nonetheless.
Someone who thinks it’s OK to work 12 hours a day might sound like the perfect candidate, but is it just because they’re a slow worker? Sometimes, that person who’s always in the office piling on the overtime is just inefficient. If the work can’t be done within the set hours, isn’t that a sign that the job needs more resource?
Obviously sometimes people have to work longer to get something done, deadlines are deadlines after all, but you need to see how this person would react to that.
Do you want a workaholic, or would you prefer someone who understands that it’s good to have a work-life balance and yet is willing to help when help is needed?
How do you relax when not at work?
You’re not after access to their weekend calendar, but this can be a great question to find out what this person’s values really are. Some people go home and work all weekend, others go karting, some like to climb mountains, we’re all different.
You shouldn’t be looking for a particular hobby or skill, but it’s good to know that your prospective employee has a good balance and knows how to relax. As your employee, their health will be paramount to your success.
When in an interview it’s essential to let the interviewee relax to get the best out of them. It’s likely that they’ll be incredibly nervous and probably worried about the whole situation, so you need to put them at ease.
These questions should help to do that.