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15 Interview Questions to Remove the Guesswork from Hiring

Some of us reading this blog post have "Recruitment" in our job descriptions. Many of us don't, but do it anyway. Either way, ignoring your company's recruitment standards is a sure-shot way to ensure you never have to hire again...

In the hunt for talent, how you conduct interviews can make or break your company's success. Yet, many businesses overlook the importance of training interviewers and establishing a structured approach to assessing candidates.

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 75% of employers have hired the wrong person for a position, and one bad hire can cost a company up to 10x that hire's salary.

Think about the resources poured into attracting candidates – job ads, career fairs, recruiter fees – it adds up. Plus, there's the time spent by HR and hiring managers reviewing resumes and setting up interviews. But here's the kicker: if the interview process is a mess, all that effort goes to waste.

Picture this: candidates walk away from a bad interview experience, and guess what? They're not just keeping it to themselves. They're sharing it online and with anyone who'll listen, tarnishing your employer brand in the process.

And let's talk money. Making bad hires due to sloppy interviews? That's a recipe for decreased productivity, higher turnover, and more cash spent on recruitment down the line. Not exactly a winning strategy.

But it's not just about the dollars. A chaotic interview process means skilled candidates slip through the cracks, leaving your company in the dust. It will eventually tank morale and wreck your company culture, too. Employees aren't exactly thrilled to see unqualified folks waltzing through the door or picking up the slack from turnover caused by bad hires.

By creating more intentional interview questions that help you understand your candidates past their resumes and initial facade, you can remove the guesswork from your company's next hire. It's all about hiring the best person for the role, not just the best available.

Interview Questions:

If we were to move forward, what would make joining our company a bad decision for you 1 year from today?

  • Good Answer: The candidate demonstrates self-awareness and considers potential challenges or mismatches that could arise.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate gives a generic response or fails to acknowledge any potential drawbacks.

  • Reveals: Candidate's ability to foresee challenges and make informed decisions about their career.

How would your former employer describe your strengths and weaknesses?

  • Good Answer: The candidate provides honest insights into their performance, backed up by examples or feedback.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate avoids discussing weaknesses or gives cliché answers.

  • Reveals: Candidate's self-awareness, ability to accept feedback, and level of honesty.

Imagine I’m a prospective customer, and sell this pen to me.

  • Good Answer: The candidate demonstrates persuasive communication skills, highlights the pen's features, and addresses potential customer needs.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate struggles to articulate the pen's value or fails to engage the interviewer.

  • Reveals: Candidate's sales and communication abilities, creativity, and adaptability.

Tell me about a time you set a challenging goal for yourself and how you accomplished it.

  • Good Answer: The candidate shares a specific, measurable goal, describes their strategy for achieving it, and reflects on lessons learned.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate provides a vague or unrelated example, or fails to explain their approach to overcoming challenges.

  • Reveals: Candidate's goal-setting abilities, problem-solving skills, and perseverance.

Describe a time a past organization didn’t fit your personality.

  • Good Answer: The candidate explains why the organization wasn't a good fit, citing cultural differences or values mismatch.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate blames others or speaks negatively about their former employer.

  • Reveals: Candidate's self-awareness, cultural fit considerations, and ability to handle workplace dynamics.

How do you feel your values would align with our values and mission?

  • Good Answer: The candidate demonstrates research into the company's values and mission, and highlights shared principles.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate gives a generic response or fails to provide specific examples.

  • Reveals: Candidate's understanding of the company culture, alignment with organizational values, and commitment.

Which actions do you take to stay motivated?

  • Good Answer: The candidate discusses proactive strategies for maintaining motivation, such as goal-setting, seeking feedback, or pursuing personal interests.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate relies solely on external factors for motivation or lacks a clear plan for staying engaged.

  • Reveals: Candidate's self-awareness, resilience, and ability to maintain productivity.

Is it better to have a job done perfectly, albeit late, or merely good but on time?

  • Good Answer: The candidate considers the importance of both quality and timeliness, and offers a balanced perspective.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate takes an extreme stance or fails to consider the context of the situation.

  • Reveals: Candidate's prioritization skills, adaptability, and ability to make decisions under pressure.

Describe a project where you had to work under significant time pressure.

  • Good Answer: The candidate provides a specific example, outlines their approach to managing time constraints, and highlights the outcome.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate struggles to recall a relevant example or fails to demonstrate effective time management skills.

  • Reveals: Candidate's ability to handle stress, prioritize tasks, and meet deadlines.

Tell me about a time when you had to resolve a conflict with a coworker or teammate.

  • Good Answer: The candidate describes the conflict, explains their approach to resolving it, and discusses the outcome.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate avoids discussing conflicts or places blame on others.

  • Reveals: Candidate's interpersonal skills, conflict resolution abilities, and emotional intelligence.

If you could choose any superpower, what would it be and why?

  • Good Answer: The candidate selects a superpower that reflects qualities relevant to the job, and provides a thoughtful explanation.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate chooses a superpower unrelated to the job or gives a superficial response.

  • Reveals: Candidate's creativity, problem-solving abilities, and ability to think on their feet.

What is the most significant misconception people have about you?

  • Good Answer: The candidate addresses a common misconception, provides context or examples, and explains why it's inaccurate.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate denies any misconceptions or fails to provide a clear explanation.

  • Reveals: Candidate's self-awareness, communication skills, and ability to reflect on their own perceptions.

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you bring and why?

  • Good Answer: The candidate selects practical items based on survival needs or demonstrates creativity in their choices, and provides reasoning for each item.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate chooses irrelevant items or fails to explain their choices.

  • Reveals: Candidate's problem-solving abilities, adaptability, and critical thinking skills.

What's the most interesting thing you've read or seen this week, and why?

  • Good Answer: The candidate shares a relevant article, book, or experience, discusses its significance, and demonstrates intellectual curiosity.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate struggles to recall anything noteworthy or provides a shallow response.

  • Reveals: Candidate's engagement with current events, curiosity, and ability to articulate ideas.

If you could go back in time and change one decision you've made, what would it be and why?

  • Good Answer: The candidate selects a decision, explains its impact, reflects on what they learned from it, and discusses how they would approach it differently.

  • Bad Answer: The candidate struggles to identify a specific decision or fails to provide reasoning for their choice.

  • Reveals: Candidate's ability to learn from past experiences, humility, and growth mindset.


By Maya Isharani


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