Now you are past introductions and the documents claiming the position for the candidate. What is the next step to determine the character compatibility with the company culture?
The essence of any answer lies in the question asked, to get the right answers, we need to ask the right questions. You need the questions that go beyond the practiced and routine dialogue into fundamental interaction and not interrogation.
Therefore, the standard interview questions aren’t going to get both employer and candidate the full closure for creating a lasting impression on both sides, an impression that results from exploring the decision-making, communication style, professional priorities and personality of a candidate and how this well-rounded information reflects in their career pursuit.
This is a list of the questions that will nail down the right candidate for you beyond a shiny suit and surface polished personality.
1. What interests you most about this position?
This gives you an in-depth understanding of the candidate’s values. This takes them away from what is required of them by the position and focuses on their genuine contribution to the position. Do they enjoy the authority or use the position to promote the culture and values of the company? This question displays the candidate’s skills in going about the duties of the position.
2. What were the best and worst aspects of each job on your resume?
This gives the candidate an opportunity to recount the moments in their past work experience that stayed with them. A glimpse in how they handle the worst aspects, what they consider as worst aspects and what they learned from the experience. The best aspects also shine a light on the character of the candidate, how they handled or felt about them, is there recognition of team work?
3. What does your bestfriend do for a living?
The relationships with the people closest to us are a good indicator of the kind of relationships we have with the broader audience. The depth with which a candidate responds to this question shows their inquisitive and curious nature towards the people they engage with. If someone does not talk in precise detail about their closest relationship, there is a high chance they will not connect with or engage the clients. This is a red flag especially for team work.
4. Which friends do you like the least and why?
This a reflective question. Most likely, what the candidate doesn’t like in a friend, he or she will not engage in or do. This shows the values of the candidate and level of maturity in still being friends with those whose values contradict theirs. It is a trait of great value in dealing with people of all backgrounds.
5. What was the worst project you worked on and why?
The projects that did not go as planned show a great deal of resilience or lack thereof. Does the candidate have a sense of responsibility? What did they do to ensure that the problem did not return. Have they taken on a project that seemed like a lost cause? What did they get out of the experience? This shows a person who takes initiative and creates their own path through grit compared to following the already made job path. You want people obsessed with achieving results no matter the business atmosphere.
6. What business problems do you enjoy solving?
This is a question that defines the most productive people in any aspect of life. Life is full of problems and the best way the majority go about those problems is by diving into distractions, it is not any one’s fault we naturally have an aversion toward discomfort and pain. The kind of pain someone is willing to bear says a lot about what they value and what motivates them. You can find out what they define as a problem. This is the candidate’s prime strength and you can deduce how it fits in with your company and industry at large.
7. What results have you produced that you are most proud of?
The catch here is their self-awareness, do they take credit where it is due and most importantly why is the candidate proud of the results. Was it for the expression of their skills? Are they proud because of the recognition? Team work? The lessons they learned or the means they took to achieve the results. The sense of pride is rooted in the values of the candidate. The number of results is also a sign of expertise and building of character over time and discipline in business.
8. What is your best book to read and what is your opinion on the state of the industry?
The candidate’s sense of self identity in the industry or company of interest is important because it shows the candidate knows where and why he or she belongs and knows what he or she has to offer. Is their opinion appreciative or depreciative? The kind of books the candidate refers to show a coherence in their character, either showing their values, interests or aspirations. This kind of an ambiguous question and a candidate may stumble to answer or ask for clarity, each reaction speaks volumes about the confidence and self awareness of a candidate and how they respond to ambiguity.
9. Does the candidate have questions for you?
This shows a candidate’s focus and state of mind in the interaction. It will show the person’s reaction to unforeseen events and preparedness to handle them. Can they think on their feet? Initiative in responding to this question signifies the interest of a candidate beyond the individual role into their connection with the whole enterprise. This also shows the creativity of the candidate and how they work under pressure.
10. Why are you looking for a new job?
This is a track of the candidate’s former employment and career trajectory. Why did they leave the former employer? This gives you an opportunity to discover the drive behind the candidate’s career choice, how he or she views themselves, their former employment relationships and why they are at this point in their career. The sense of responsibility for the candidate’s career path and choices is also challenged too.
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