You did everything right with your job posting and have captured the attention of several candidates that "on paper" seem to be highly qualified and a great fit. How do you know which candidate is The One? Their resume indicates they have the right skills and experience for the position, but it is still only part of the story.
Are they productive and reliable? Do they solve problems creatively? Do they value collaboration? Do they perform well under pressure?
During the interview, what are you trying to learn about your candidate? Don’t waste your time with questions that have already been answered on the resume. Avoiding common, overused questions (“Tell me about yourself”, “What are your strengths”) will help you avoid pre-loaded, canned responses that may not give any true insight.
So, what should you ask? Encouraging candidates to really think with more challenging questions will reveal more about your potential hires.
Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?
This question will give you insight into the candidate’s understanding of what the role entails and let them describe the skills they possess that will allow them to succeed in the position. It will allow them to expand and add to any qualifications that were listed on the resume.
Do you work better as part of a team or independently?
Depending on the position, this will give you more insight into the candidate’s fit for the role. A supplementary question to this might be to ask the candidate how they define effective teamwork.
If your friends and family (or coworkers) had to describe you in three words, what would they be?
This is an opportunity for a candidate to not only highlight their best qualities, but it will also give you insight into their personality, and how well they might fit into your organization’s culture.
What is one attribute that differentiates you from any other candidate for this role?
This question will reveal even more about the candidate’s understanding of what the position requires.
What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
Not only is this an opportunity to boost the candidate’s confidence and ease tension, but it’s also a great way to allow a candidate to expand on their strengths.
Why did you leave (or why are you leaving) your last (or current) position?
This question allows you to understand what a candidate is looking for in their role. A response such as, “I had no more room to grow”, tells you this is somebody that wants to advance and keep developing. With excess complaining or negativity, you may uncover a potential red flag.
What could your most recent company improve to be more successful?
This question allows for a lens through which to see how connected the candidate was to the big picture aspects. Were they connected to the company as a whole? Did they personally assess productivity, wanting to see improvement?
The exact questions will vary depending on company and position, but these questions will allow you to get a better sense of any candidate’s potential. How they respond to the questions is obviously very important. Do they light up when they talk about professional accomplishments? Do you sense any defensiveness when they refer to previous positions?
Most importantly, in today’s job market, an interview is just as much an opportunity for your organization to present itself as a great place to work. Remember, the best and the brightest talent will also be using this time to size up your organization. Take steps to ensure that your interview represents your organization as the place they want to be.
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