Every manager or business owner wants to find the best possible candidate for the job — a person who is qualified, has both a great aptitude and attitude, and is a team player. One who not only succeeds but is interested in exceeding expectations. The question is, how do you identify this type of person in the context of the interview process?
The answer to that question lies in the answers to the questions you ask in the interview. Just as it takes work to find and hire the right candidate, it takes work to ask the right questions. A key problem is that most interview questions are either too job skill-specific, or are the canned variety that a good interviewee already has prepared an answer to, such as, “Why do you want to work for us?” Or, “What are your biggest weaknesses?”
A recent trend has been to ask out-of-the box, “brainteaser” types of questions such as “How many golf balls are there in Florida?” Or, “Describe the Internet to someone who just woke up from a 30-year coma.” However, big hire firms like Google and Microsoft have recently ditched these questions, as they don’t reveal anything about a candidate except their ability to think on their feet.
However, there are questions you can ask beyond the conventional ones that will give you deeper insight into applicants. Below are a few open-ended questions you may want to consider adding to your interview process — and what they can tell you about the person you are interviewing:
1. It’s five years from today. Where are you and what are you doing?
The key to this question lies in its specificity. Many people have general career aspirations that fit with the job at hand. However, good candidates will know exactly where they are going, and you’ll know whether you can help get them there.
2. What is something you’d be happy doing every day of your career?
This question goes beyond the specific skill-type question and gets to what motivates a person to work hard. You can learn whether a person is a problem-solver or a people person, for instance.
3. What is something about me that you think is interesting?
This question takes the standard, “What about you is interesting?” and turns it on its head. The goal is to find out how much research the candidate has done not only on the company, but on the person he/she would be working for, with directly or indirectly.
4. Why shouldn’t I hire you?
This question, according to Yashi CEO and co-founder Jay Gould, should be asked at the end of the interview and is the best question to assess a candidate’s integrity. He believes that since people usually aren’t prepared to answer it, "It forces people to try and disqualify themselves from the position, which takes them out of the mindset of putting their best foot forward," he says.
These are just a few questions you may want to use in your next interview. Remember that an interview should always be a two-way conversation. You will learn a lot about a candidate’s motives by the questions they ask you as well.
Have any insights you’d like to add on effective interview questions? Your tips may help others who are struggling with the interview process. Post your response below.
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