These 10 questions get to the heart of which candidates have true potential and which ones are only there because they’re in desperate need of any job.
- When you look at our organization, what do you see that energizes you? This not only elevates the average interview from a basic review of job history and skill set, it gives the interviewer a sense of whether each candidate has researched the company, whether he or she buys into the company’s core values, and what role the candidate sees him or herself playing in the company’s success.
- If you could ask me anything about the job, the company, or the industry, what would it be? Every candidate has some type of anxiety going into an interview. This question gives the recruiter some insights into what, if any, concerns the applicant might have about taking the job. Is he/she concerned about salary? Security? Growth potential? Chances are, whatever’s foremost on the candidate’s mind will come spilling out once an interviewer asks this question.
- What do you consider most fulfilling, in terms of a potential job or position? Most companies know what type of salary range they’re willing to offer, and the job responsibilities are also rather finite, which means one of the biggest X factors that’ll determine whether a candidate is likely to evolve and flourish within the company is whether that candidate finds the job both challenging and fulfilling on some level.
- Of the following 30 terms, which 5-10 best describe you? This is a side-by-side comparison test, usually done online or on paper. The idea is to ask employees in each department to choose five terms that best describe them first, from the same list of 30. Then rate the frequency of top answers in order, so you can get a sense of whether top candidates share the same skills or values as the current employees in each division. In other words, would this person be a “good fit” for the corporate culture?
- What was the worst part about your last job? This is a unique way to determine what each candidate sees as detrimental in terms of office politics/policy. Does the candidate immediately cite a laundry list of problems that make it clear he or she does not work well with others? Is it clear the candidate has a sense his ideas are generally better than those of anyone else around him? Does he struggle to think of anything specific? These all provide a window into whether the candidate spends the bulk of his or her time distracted by everything going on around the office, or whether they’re able to put petty nonsense aside and remain focused on the job at hand.
- Who are some of your biggest heroes (and why)? Sounds like a ridiculous question to ask during a job interview, right? But the fact is, it’s not only a counterintuitive ice-breaker, it also reveals a great deal about what values a person admires in others, and what qualities they tend to cultivate and maintain in their own daily lives. When people are confronted with a major issue, it’s not unlikely for them to consider what someone they really admire might do, given the same circumstances.
- Assuming you were to get hired, where would you see yourself within the organization in five years? This is a great way to get at the core of each candidates’ long-term intentions. Is the candidate prepared to dig in and make a commitment to moving up within the organization, or does he or she see this job as a short-term rung on the ladder of success?
- Assuming you were to get hired, what would you see as your primary mission or goals in terms of this job? This may provide some gauge of whether the candidate’s expectations meet reality, and/or whether the candidate is actually equal to the task at hand.
- What do you see as your worst quality? This is an age-old question, but it turns the table on the fairly obvious “best quality” question, and it also reveals something about the candidate’s character. Namely, it lets an employer know whether the candidate is willing to be honest about his or her own faults.
- What’s the accomplishment you’re most proud of, given your work history to date? This question gives candidates an opportunity to brag, it provides some idea of what they’re capable of, and it lets you know what they view as a worthwhile achievement (i.e., something that makes them feel better about themselves, something that increases their value to a company, both, neither, etc.).