We all know the statistics on how much it costs to make a bad hire. If your interview questions don’t accurately reveal whether the candidate will be a good fit, it could cost your company up to 30% of the candidate’s salary. The negative impact extends beyond the candidate, affecting corporate culture and department morale.
The problem is that bad hires can be notoriously difficult to spot. That’s why interview questions are important tools to help hiring teams get it right the first time. But how many times have we heard the same tired questions:
“Describe a time you were challenged at work.”
“What is your greatest weakness?”
The problem is candidates are smarter and have used Google to tackle all of the basic questions. How can an interviewer try to counteract the savvy candidate armed with a good search engine? Here are some suggestions for questions that may help you get to the heart of the candidate you’re interviewing.
Pick one word to describe yourself.
This could throw your candidate off a bit because it’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer. One adjective is tough, but it’s interesting because there really isn’t a “right” answer. Ask this question to determine how fast on their feet the candidate is. As a follow-up, ask them to use one adjective to describe their biggest negative character trait. Look for candidates who are clearly self-aware and working on improving their skills.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
This gets to the issue of what irritates the candidate the most. As they describe the issue you will see flashes of how they probably handle whatever irritates them the most. The question may shed light on their emotional IQ and their ability to work in teams and collaborate on projects.
How do you define success?
This is incredibly personal and individualized but it’s a crucial question to determine what really motivates the candidate. It will help you understand whether the candidate is really a cultural fit a well as their determination to succeed. Is success defined by the amount of money they make or how much they give back? How does that fit with the team they’ll work with?
Do they think they’re lucky? Why?
Attitude is everything in any job, and this question is important for understanding the person’s outlook on life and work. Candidates who express gratitude, determination and optimism are all potentially great; watch out for those negative Nellie’s whose mental attitude can tear a team down. Also, watch out for the candidates who aren’t grateful and believe their rise to the top was solely the result of their own hard work.
Tell me a story about an interesting encounter you had recently.
What does the candidate find interesting? Does the story they tell exhibit curiosity, intelligence and creativity? All of these traits are desirable in a candidate and can help companies achieve a competitive advantage no matter what industry you’re working in.
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