Last Updated on September 27, 2021
Hiring a candidate for a job is not to be taken lightly. Why? Well, it’s simple. Your employees determine how successful your business will be. From the front desk person to those in executive positions, every one of them represents your company in some capacity-no matter how small. Therefore, bad hiring could cost you not just money but a lot more.
The Recruitment process must shine the spotlight on the skills and the abilities of each job applicant. One of the finest ways to do that is by interviewing every candidate. Unfortunately, without asking the right questions, the whole process is likely to yield bad fruits (something you want to avoid).
If this is your first rodeo conducting interviews, don’t go about it blindly. We are going to share with you a few best interviewing questions to ask candidates. For those planning to attend interviews, be sure to go through these questions as well so you are not caught offline.
Note to interviewers: Because of personality differences, it is ideal for interviewers to ensure they come up with unique questions and approaches in order not to miss out on potentially worthwhile candidates.
Common Interview Questions to Ask During the Recruitment Process
1. What is something you believed in but no longer do?
The world is changing and so are organizations. This means you might need someone who can quickly adapt to change. If this is the case, then this is the question to ask. The kind of answers you get will also give you an idea of how serious someone is.
Let’s say the interviewer says that they used to think that leadership was genetic only to realize that it can be learned. That’s a smart answer and the candidate might be worth hiring.
2. Who were the key competitors at your last company and how did your company position itself differently?
Let’s say you are hiring top-level personnel. These are the people with all the insights needed to transform your brand. As such this question will reveal if they had a strategic understanding of their previous business. Anyone who mentions the current and future competitors of their former company is a gem.
Failure to answer this question could possibly mean you are dealing with a person who is never interested in the affairs of the company they work with. You don’t need to onboard such an employee.
3. What are your best and worst days at work?
If you want to know someone’s perspective and outlook, this is the question to ask. The answer to their best days lets you know what motivates them. As for the worst days, you can learn if someone takes responsibility for their errors, tries to fix problems, or blames others. In short, you will know if they can survive in a collaborative environment.
You can push this question to your top performers and record down the answers. Anyone interviewee that hinges close to those answers will be a steal and worth onboarding.
4. Are you working on any exciting project outside of work?
If you have a thing for cultural inclusion, then it’s important to know a little bit of what your employees do outside of work. A fascinating answer indicates you are working with a well-rounded individual who is well-aligned with your cultural goals.
What if you get an answer to this question? Well, then it means you are enrolling someone with a poor work-life balance. Generic answers, on the other hand, show a lack of creativity.
5. Describe your most significant conflict at work and how you solved it?
Conflicts at work are inevitable. Therefore, you want to know how your potential employees not only view conflicts but how they handle them as well. This is one of those questions that detect honesty or dishonesty. It helps you discern who your candidate really is.
But you will need to follow up with questions for each of their answers to deepen your understanding of them. The exhaustive feedback on how they settled issues in the past will help you have a rough idea of how they’ll deal with issues in the future.
6. Can you mention some of your greatest weaknesses?
This is one of the most common interview questions to ask candidates when hiring. Basically, you want to gauge how honest and self-aware they are. Furthermore, you would be looking to know if their weaknesses could clash with job requirements or hamper their effectiveness.
7. What are your greatest strengths?
If you have to inquire about someone’s weaknesses, then it’s only fair that you ask about their strengths too. So what exactly do you want to track from this question? Humility and self-awareness.
This question also gives them a chance to state their strengths and how they can use them to propel your company to greatness.
8. What’s the reason for leaving your current/ former employer?
You really must be curious about why someone left their previous job for your brand. When you put out this question, you are simply zooming in on the professional standards of employees as well as their hope for the future.
Someone who bad mouths a former employer, complains about the staff, and disrespects the workplace could have been the problem in the first place. However, anyone who demonstrates civility and professionalism is great because these two traits are essential for all employment roles.
9. If I phoned your former or current boss, what would they say about you?
This is one of those questions that can scare an interviewee and get their heart pumping. Nevertheless, when you ask it, it will reveal if they are full of themselves, self-downers, or smooth talkers.
Next, it gives you a clear picture of how they talk about their former boss. Do they still hold grudges or are they full of praises? Now, there is a special note attached to this question. Only ask it if you know you are actually going to make the call.
10. How do you deal with stressful situations?
There’s diversity at the workplace and your employee is going to work with people who have a different way of doing things or expressing themselves. There’s definitely going to be some friction. You want to be sure the candidate can navigate those little workplace storms without compromising productivity.
A good employee doesn’t bottle up everything. Instead, they should be proactive communicators, problem solvers and have positive ways to deal with challenges at work (for instance meditating). Avoid perfectionists who claim that they don’t get stressed. We all have limits and it would be pretentious to imagine ourselves as formidable at all times.
11. What are you looking for in this new job position?
This question will reveal a sneak peek into how the employee will go about their daily activities and how they will contribute to the growth of the company and fellow employees. You will also tap into their motivation, aspirations, and how good they can be if given the opportunity.
Anyone who rants or is looking for big bucks is hands down not the ideal choice-unless they are just being straight up and have a string of posh success records to show.
12. Why should we consider you?
You know your company goals. However, you really don’t know what value the new employee is going to bring. By asking them why they should be hired, you are giving them a chance to prove that they understand their job. Any employee worth his/her salt will deliver an effective sales pitch that is full of quantifiable figures (think of the show, don’t tell mantra).
A similar question to this would be, what made you apply for this position? The answers will still show you why they want the job and why they feel they are a good fit.
13. Why do you want to work for us?
Why should we consider you may not give you all the reasons why someone is a good fit. But when you ask them why they want to be hired in your company, the spectrum becomes broad. You’ll learn just how much they have researched about your business and the kind of employer they are looking for.
You need to listen carefully for all the details they reveal about your company and any subtle parallels they are drawing between your organization and their career aspirations.
14. What’s the experience like to let an employee go?
Good managers are caring just as they are strict. It should not be a joyous moment letting an employee go without getting to understand the whole story. So when hiring individuals for managerial positions, this is the right question to ask.
First, it lets you know if the candidate gives second chances and warning before firing. Secondly, it shows you their process of firing-is human or inhuman? Did the employee consult other heads of department? Did he or she document all the meetings before the firing day? A good manager must be thorough and follow due process.
15. Is there something I haven’t asked that you would like me to?
Candidates may have a special need, talent, or request that your choreographed interview forgot to address or inquire about. For that reason, it’s best to end by asking interviewees if there is any question they would have loved you to ask them.
There are three ways this can go. An interviewee might say everything was covered, share little, or overshare. Pay close attention to everything they say. Every answer and non-verbal cues are behavioral clues that let you know who you are dealing with.
Here’s another similar question that lets a candidate unveil something new; tells us something about yourself that isn’t captured in the resume.
Witty Questions to ask
There’s one problem with the questions we have discussed so far; they are more of a cut-and-dry type. Any individual who has attended many interviews will spit out answers in an instant because they have practiced. This next section switches things up a bit. Let’s go over some unexpected questions that really let you know some at their core and while still making the interview fun for both of you.
1. You’ve been gifted with an elephant that you can’t sell or give away. What would you do with it?
This is one of those best ways to judge your candidate’s reasoning skills. Yes, there is no one right answer to this question. Nevertheless, you get an idea of how someone would solve an unexpected problem that demands an on-the-nose solution.
For instance, someone would say ‘I’d feed it and keep it as a pet, ride it to work, or set up a one-animal zoo at my place.’
2. Suppose you could transform into a tree, what kind would you be and why?
We all have little bits of info about trees. Here, you want an employee to pick any tree and use the attributes to highlight their strengths and how they would be beneficial to the company.
For instance, someone could go with the oak tree and explain that it’s because they are strong and dependable. Someone else could say they’d rather be a leguminous tree because they return nitrogen back to the soil for others to use. What they are saying is, they lift others as they rise.
Suppose we wrap this interview up and when you step outside, you are surprised with a lottery ticket that culminates in a win of $50 million. What would you do?
Just like honey traps catch badgers, this question too traps money-oriented candidates. One of the reasons the richest people are rich is because they were passionate about their ventures. They did not care about money. Wealth just came because of their commitment and persistence.
Studies conducted assert that engaged workers perform 200%+ better in comparison to those who are not entirely engaged. So any employee who says they’ll go and start their own company, enjoy life and other materialistic behaviors are not ideal candidates. They will leave as soon as they catch wind of greener pastures elsewhere.
A good respondent will let you know that they’ll be glad for the money and will use it to do good. However, they will still insist on working for you because they either believe in the goodness of your company or are simply passionate about what they do. Full disclosure, Mark Zuckerberg with all his billions still codes for fun.
3. If you had a choice between flying and invisibility, which superpower would you go for and why?
When you are hiring a leader, you wanna be sure they are proactive and always out there. This question is excellent in highlighting that.
Any candidate that prefers invisibility may not be a good suit for executive positions. Why would they want to hide? Instead, go with someone who prefers to fly and explore new ways of doing things.
Special note: many interviewees are super uptight and ‘banterless’. If you were the one preparing for the interview, you would understand why most candidates get nervous. To lighten the mood and create a friendly environment that will make the candidates free to express themselves, starting with the following questions:
4. What did you have for breakfast?
5. What’s your favorite song or artist?
Very important reminder
The world is full of introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts. All these individuals respond differently in times of pressure or when facing a panel of uptight interviewees. But the truth is, there is an ideal candidate within all those personalities that will probably be brushed under the bus because of improper verbal or non-verbal communication.
So, yes, while these questions can help you execute refreshing and productive interviews, you can still miss out on a potential candidate. This means you need unique methods that will appeal to nervous and unprepared interviewers.
Your interviews don’t have to be boring and ineffective. Master the questions we have discussed in this article and you will not only enjoy your sessions but get an excellent candidate for your company.