Have you ever hired someone and later realized they were a terrible fit for the position? Did you replay the interview in your mind and wonder how the candidate did so well in the interview but so poorly at their job? If so, you are like many employers trying to figure out how to ask the right questions in an interview and avoid making hiring mistakes of the past.
The reality is that a lot of interview questions are all the same. Job seekers can download replicated lists of top interview questions and script their responses. This leaves the interviewer getting a distorted view of who the candidate is in front of them. In order to fix this dynamic, you must think of the interview differently. Here are four ways to uncover more in your interviews, as well as relax the atmosphere just enough for you to see greater authenticity in your job candidates.
“Tell me about a time at work when you were wrong and you made an effort to make it right.”
No one is ever right 100% of the time. Your new hires must be able to distinguish times in their past performance when they realized they were wrong and did something to rectify it. People who lack self-awareness rarely accept blame for problems in their life or at work. If you make the mistake of hiring this kind of person, nothing will ever be their fault and they will get along poorly with other coworkers.
“Tell me about a time at work when you were right, but no one would listen.”
Additionally, people frequently have great ideas but struggle to convince the right people at the right time. Do they give in to peer pressure to go with the flow? Do they rant, rave and bully others until they get their way? Or do they find a way to recognize their own genius and cope with the disappointment of not seeing it recognized? Depending upon your company’s culture, you may favor one response over the other. Either way, their answer will tell you something about their level of self-awareness.
“Please explain to me [something fairly complicated].”
Good communicators are often great thinkers. New hires (especially managers) must be able to explain complicated topics in a way that is accessible to teammates, senior managers and customers. Conversely, poor communicators make simple concepts more confusing and use ambiguous language to describe complex ideas. The best employees and managers use their words to clarify rather than complicate the lives of people around them.
“Do you feel that you communicate better writing or speaking? Why?”
Depending on the nature of the job for which you are hiring, your employees may be required to do more writing or speaking. Some people communicate well in writing but not as well in speaking (which will work well if the job involves remote-based work teams). Conversely, others know how to communicate well verbally, but struggle to achieve the same success in their writing. This might not be a problem if the majority of the job requires fact-to-face engagement, but they could run into issues if writing is a major component of their job. As a manager, knowing which communication style they prefer may also give you insight into their leadership style.
“What are some soft and/or hard skills that you’ve begun learning without an employer asking you to do so?”
Proactive employees don’t wait to be told. They seek out opportunities that will make them successful. With so much quality training available online for free or at low cost, it has never been easier for employees to pick up additional skills that make them a more valuable hire.
“What one thing have you learned this year that has made the most positive difference in your work?”
People with a growth mindset naturally develop and they are hungry for opportunities to learn. They will be able to see growth in their lives, both personally and professionally. Growing employees are positive, driven and challenge others around them to grow.
Job Specific Questions
“What kind of problems are our customers having?”
Asking a potential hire about your customers’ problems is an insightful way of asking the candidate to sell you the company’s products or services. The reason your company exists in the first place is because your customers have problems, and your products/services address those problems in a way that improves their quality of life or ability to do business.
“Where do you feel our industry is heading?”
Is the person you’re interviewing able to discuss their job’s industry intelligently? Technological development in all job categories means that every industry is changing or about to change. Those who get tunnel vision in the way “things have always been” will find themselves out of a job or working for a business that is dying.
For more information about how The Goodkind Group can help your company make the right hire the first time, contact a consultant today at (212) 378-0700 or visit our website.