4 Interview Questions That Will Tell You Everything You Need to Know

January 7th, 2014 • From Accent Hiring Group

Keep your interviews focused, on track, and meaningful by asking targeted questions that provide volumes of information. No matter how your candidate answers the questions listed below, you’ll learn something. In fact, you’ll learn just about everything you need to know in order to make your selection and staff your open position.

1. “Why are you here today?”

This question will encourage the candidate to speak in an open-ended way about why she wants this job and why she’s attracted to this company. Weaker candidates will be caught off guard and will probably express (in so many words) that they need a job, any job, and this one will do. Stronger candidates will concisely explain why they’re a match for your company and what they have to offer that no other candidate can.

2. “In this role, you’ll need to handle (insert the most unpleasant responsibility of the position). Is that okay with you? How do you intend to cope with this challenge?”

This position might require high levels of public speaking, excessive travel, or an especially dirty, awkward, or tedious responsibility. Get this out in the open right away and let your candidate decide how he feels about it. If he pauses for a long moment before delivering a hesitant, staged response, that’s not a great sign. But if his eyes light up and he seems genuinely enthusiastic about this aspect of the job, make a note of it.

3.“This position requires a high level of leadership skill. Can you describe a past occasion when you faced an especially daunting leadership challenge? What happened and how did you respond to the situation?”

Substitute “leadership” for the most important challenge of this position. For example, dealing with interpersonal conflict, attending to very small levels of detail, or winning over resistant clients and customers. Just describe the skill in question and ask the candidate how she’s dealt with this kind of situation in the past. Read between the lines and use the story she tells to determine how she defines a “challenge.”

4. “I’ve noticed on your resume that (fill in the blank with any detail that suggests a mismatch). Can we talk about this?”

If the job will require commitment and the candidate seems like a job hopper, address this now. Likewise, if the job will require intense dedication and the candidate has large resume gaps, or if the job requires extensive experience and he only has a two year background in this field, allow him to talk about this issue in his own words. Look for signs of confidence, and make sure the candidate takes ownership of his background instead of making excuses.

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