Hiring Rut, Part Three: Asking Better Interview Questions

  • Posted by: Chaloner

This week I’m going to continue to explore solutions to hiring ruts, particularly during the interview process. Perhaps you keep hitting a wall at a certain point in your hiring process: the candidates who look good on paper aren’t delivering in person, or are revealed to be a poor fit late in the game. Here are some crucial interview questions that will uncover whether your candidate will be a fit— or a flop.

Based on what you know about our company and this position, what will you have hoped to accomplish six months from now?
This question comes from one of our recruiters at Chaloner and is a favorite because it functions on two helpful levels. The first part of this question asks the candidate to consider what they know about the company and position in a unique context which will help you gauge their understanding aside from the common quoting of the company website. The second part of this question requires the candidate to visualize his or her impact on the company, which will allow you to compare the candidate’s goals with your own and will reveal whether or not you are on the same page.

Could you tell me about a time you were asked to change the way you do something?
Many clients express a need for a candidate who is capable of and willing to change with a company in transition—a quality that can’t always be gleaned from a resume alone. This interview question, suggested by Forbes’ Mark Murphy, assesses a candidate’s attitude towards and experience with change. The key to the question is its flexibility; a candidate can describe a frustrating change they disagreed with, or a challenging shift to which they adapted. The attitude and anecdote your candidate presents will give you the information you need!

What’s your ideal working environment?
Often the issue with a candidate is not his or her qualifications, but the cultural fit. It’s important to evaluate this in the interview. Sometimes hiring managers are inclined to speak about their company’s specific culture to get the candidate’s read and opinion on it. However, when a candidate is competitively vying for the position, it can be difficult to know their true feelings or preferences as they attempt to interview well. This question doesn’t imply a correct answer and will give you the opportunity to truly take into account your candidate’s preferences and compare it to your own company’s culture.

Using these questions is a good step to improving your interview process so you can ultimately find the candidates you’re really looking for. Remember that no interview questions alone will reveal perfect candidates– you’ll need to follow your instincts as well!