Ever hired someone only to realize six months later that not only were they mediocre (at best) in their job performance, but the complete opposite of what you expected them to be as workers and team players? Some applicants have almost “mastered” the interview process giving perfect, well-rehearsed answers to job-related questions to land the position, but no indication as to what they’ll really be like after accepting that offer of employment.
Even though some applicants are able to provide these almost perfect, well-rehearsed answers, hiring managers should be working to uncover some possible lacking qualities that are essential to most positions like:
- interpersonal skills
- management style
- honesty and integrity, and
- the ability to work with others
So how can you learn more about your candidates during interviews?
When interviewing it’s important to have a mixture of traditional and non-traditional questions to give you a better snap-shot of skills, personality, and attitude. Here are the top 5 questions non-traditional questions you should ask during the interview process:
Question 1: What are the first three things you do when you get to work?
A candidate’s answer here will paint a better picture as to how organized they are and their work ethic. While everyone handles their workday differently, you’re looking for an indication that they can complete tasks at hand timely and efficiently. Inadvertently, this is also a good opportunity to learn more about their knowledge and skills related to the job.
Question 2: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
While not job-related, a question like this gives you the opportunity to learn things about a candidate’s personality that might not otherwise be revealed during the interview. A good candidate will take every question you ask seriously and answer to the best of their ability. You want someone that is easy to work with, so candidates who shrug the question off can signal a red flag.
Question 3: How do you define success?
Hiring someone is a company investment, so this question will give you a better idea of who you should invest in. Goals and aspirations are important qualities to have in a candidate. Someone who visually lacks interest in their position doesn’t necessarily have goals lined out ahead of them, which could mean they are just looking for a job, not a career (resulting in churn). Look for someone who has an idea of where they want to go with their job. However, keep in mind that there are individuals that love the industry they work in, so while they might not have a clear understanding of where they will be in five years, if they show passion in their answer and interest in learning new aspects of the business, that is a good thing and should be noted as positive.
Question 4: How would you describe your personality?
Fan of the “strengths and weaknesses” question? This is another less obvious way to get a candidate to talk about their abilities while learning more about their personalities. Perhaps they say they are really outgoing, but get discouraged easily. This answer could tell you that they are confident, but need more recognition. The more you know about their personality, the better you’ll be able to determine their fit within the team.
Question 5: What kinds of people bother you?
Working well with others and part of a team is important in every organization. This question will give insight into just how well the applicant will fit into the team. While it’s perfectly OK to be honest and divulge some pet peeves, applicants who mention multiple traits that bother them, and those who say nothing (or nobody) bothers them – are both red flags and should be noted.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your questions. The goal isn’t to stump your applicants, but to get a better sense of who they are and the true fit they’d be for the position, and the company.
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