Interviewing applicants for an open position can sound easy. With the job description in hand, the interviewer can simply ask a dozen questions and make a hiring decision, right?
Actually, the nuances of interviewing applicants should extend well beyond confirming abilities and go into areas of internal motivation, cultural fit and self-awareness. Interviewers should ask questions designed to gauge how well a candidate might mesh with the existing team or perform long-term with the company.
Ideally, questions should engage candidates, with the goals of having a collaborative conversation and putting applicants at ease.
The following interview questions can help you develop such a conversation and make your next candidate selection process much easier.
5 Interview Questions to Help You Find Better Candidates
1. Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
People love talking about themselves and they enjoy discussing things that inspire them. In addition to engaging your applicant, this question can also tell you a lot about their internal motivations. For instance, if someone got into their career because of a connection or a lucky break, they probably aren’t going to be as passionate as someone who was inspired by a mentor or role model.
2. What do you think everyone in your field should read?
A good candidate will be passionate about their career. They’ll have a book they can cite as a major influence. Or, maybe they spend their off-hours reading about the latest industry developments on news websites and blogs.
This can be a bit of a tough question, so responses shouldn’t be judged too harshly. Some red flags to look out for include an inability to come up with anything or an odd choice that has nothing to do with the job or the industry.
3. What are your pet peeves at work?
Most people like to complain about their job or a past job, so this can be a very engaging question. It’s also a bit of a trap that smart candidates will be wise not to fall into. Candidates that are overly negative, complain about working with others or don’t like key aspects of the job they’d be doing should be viewed with caution. You should always be wary of those that say they don’t have any work pet peeves.
4. What is something about you that people might be surprised to learn?
People find that talking about their uniqueness or “hidden talents” is very engaging. This question also allows you to go ‘beyond the resume’ and really get to know your applicants. Clearly, this is a great question for assessing cultural fit with your existing team.
5. If there is one career decision you could change, what would it be?
Most of us have made missteps in the course of our career. The key is being able to learn from those missteps and become a more valuable professional. If you are interviewing for an entry-level position, you can modify this question to ask about a ‘life’ decision they would like to change.
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