For Business Sake’s! 5 Interview Questions You Need to be Asking

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By Judy Willard

Hiring new employees can be very exciting.  You have the opportunity to see the freshest generation joining the job market, and you meet interesting people with fantastic life experiences to share.

However, finding the optimum employee for the position you need to fill can be very time consuming, and it can be difficult making a decision based on an interview.

The five questions you see in this article are pretty common interview questions, and I’m going to show you why they are so effective during the interview process.

#1) What is the Best Thing About Your Former/Current Job?

Your candidate is looking to ditch his or her old job.  This ultimately means working for you is better for him or her on more than one level.  Asking someone to identify positive aspects of something he or she considers negative is a great way of getting a feel for that person’s frame of mind.

A negative candidate might grumble, and say “nothing,” or “It was close to my house,” or “It was a form of income when I needed money.”

On the other hand, a positive candidate might have an immediate answer, “I loved the experience,” or “I really liked my co-workers!”

Ask the candidate to expand on his or her answer.  This expansion can be a tell-tale sign that the positive candidate is really a negative candidate.  For example, she might say, “I really liked my co-workers, because they helped me deal with my jerkface boss.  I mean, that hag was monstrous!”

Whoa! Here are the true colors coming through! The best thing about “the best thing” question is that you can get a great feel for a candidate’s ability to deal with high-stress or negative situations.  Also, you can better understand his or her ability to learn from situations he or she has been through.

#2) What is the Worst Thing About Your Former/Current Job?

Much like the first question, this question gives you the ability to discern whether or not a candidate has the ability to adapt to situations, learn from situations, and keep a calm demeanor through it.

Many of your negative candidates will answer this question when you ask the first question.

#3) Where do You See Yourself in Five Years?

This is a great question that encompasses so many other questions, including: “How long do you plan to stay with us?”; “Do you have educational or financial goals that can hinder your performance with this company?”; “Do you have goals that can help you work toward advancement with this company?”; “Are you a day-dreamer?”; and “What current goals do you have that can benefit this company?”

The wonderful thing about this question is the fact that you don’t have to directly ask all of these questions; your candidate’s answer will naturally answer all of these questions for you.

#4) What is One Thing You Want to Change About Yourself & What Steps are You Taking to do So?

This is a pretty loaded question.  When you ask it, you’ll know if your candidate is prepared for the interview the second it is asked—just take note of how long it takes the candidate to answer.  Knowledge of your candidate’s preparedness will show you how serious he or she is about the job.

However, the actual answer from the candidate is what you’re really looking for.  The candidate’s ability to reflect on his or her own shortcomings and actually take steps to strengthen his or her characteristics is a clear sign that that person is open to constructive criticism and forward-thinking change.

Now, you might hear an answer like this one: “People say I’m too nice.  I’m not going to change that.  I like that quality in myself.”  While this line shows confidence in the perspective employee, it’s also a very shallow answer.

In the case of this question, the deeper a candidate can reach for an answer, the better you can understand how that candidate will function in a work environment.

You may also hear something along the lines of “I’m a procrastinator.  I’ve been working on it by giving myself deadlines.”  It’s interview 101 not to say the “p” word.  The fact that this candidate said it should be a huge red flag.

#5) Describe an Office/Work Setting Conflict & How You Resolved it?

The response to this question works in three parts.  The first part is that a candidate’s response shows how dramatic this candidate can be.  You may get a perspective employee who cannot wait to answer this question.  She might spin a beautiful tale about how she was involved in the worst possible conflict.

On the other hand, you could receive an answer in which the candidate is very relaxed about the issue, and downplays the scenario.  Either way, the way the answer to this question is delivered is very helpful in finding someone who can handle the work environment you are trying to create.

The second part is the fact that it shows how accountable this candidate is.  If he or she takes accountability of his or her part in the conflict, you know you are dealing with an honest person who is very self-reflective.

Finally, this question establishes the candidate’s problem solving skills.  Candidates with strong problem solving skills will focus on the resolution of the conflict; whereas a dramatic candidate will focus on the description of the event.

We all know that it can be difficult finding the perfect person to fill a position.  Ask these five questions, and pay attention to the answers you receive.  This will help you find the perfect employee for the position.  Do you have any great interview questions?  Tell us about them below.


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