Six Interview Questions Recruiters SHOULD AskOctober 2, 2017
The answers you receive are only as good as the questions you ask.
I signed up for a work permit in my early teens and hit the workforce as soon as I was able. I’ve been working for over half of my life. This means I’ve gone through the job interview process many, many times. When it comes to interview questions: I’ve heard ’em all.
Most applicants you’ll come across have similar stories to my own. They’ve been in and out of job interviews so many times, they practically have the formula memorized. They rattle off canned answers to the “usual” interview questions and could get through the process in their sleep.
But do you really want to hire an applicant who was only half-awake during your interview? I say we mix things up a bit — wake those applicants up!
To do this, it means bringing a different set of interview questions to the table. The following six questions are all great for activating an applicant’s mind, waking them up, and making them THINK about their replies to you.
Keep your standard questions, sure; but throw a couple of these babies into the mix and you’ll REALLY be cooking with gas:
1. If we gave you everything you’re asking for and you were happy here, what would it take for you to leave to another company?
When it comes to interview questions, this one really throws them for a loop — and will show you exactly where they stand.
I’ll give you a hint: the answer almost always boils down to love or money. Though some of the applicants’ answers may surprise you!
Many will end up saying that they’d leave you if they got a better monetary offer. This shows that they value money more than happiness. Their loyalty can be bought. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your views. On one hand, YOU could be the one to pay them more (are you a leader who gives out well-deserved promotions? Tell them so!); but, on the other hand, it could signal that they’re only looking to stay with you as a temporary gig until their next BIG high-paying gig comes along.
The second most common answer has to do with “love.” Some applicants will only leave for a job they truly love and believe in. I actually left another company to join 133T because I love and believe in 133T’s values and ultimate goal. Took a pay cut too! My happiness was worth more to me than money, and it took an extra special company to lure me away.
If their answer is “love”-based, now’s the time to reassert your mission statement and see how excited they get when you discuss your company’s goals. If they seem genuinely excited by what you’re about, then there’s a good chance they won’t leave you right away.
2. What was your favorite work-related success?
Toss this into your interview questions and you’ll get some great insight on what your candidate did in the past, and what they can potentially do for YOU.
For example, at one writing job I had, I managed to raise a company’s profits by 10 percent in one month. I’m pretty darn proud of that. Now, imagine what I could do for YOU, and your company, if I were hired. A 10 percent increase per month would mean you’d be doubling your profits in less than a year. Not too shabby!
Before I was a full-time freelance writer and editor, I worked in retail and food services. Some of my prouder moments involved dishing out great customer service and diffusing difficult situations. If your candidate’s answer is along those lines, it shows that they have good people skills that could be a valuable asset.
Use your candidate’s past to look into your company’s future with them. When it comes to interview questions, this one is a gem. It not only shows you what your candidate is capable of, but what they place the highest value on. Was their favorite success money related? People related? Was it something that improved the company culture, or just their own life?
Whatever their answer to this one is, really evaluate it. The insights you garner will be invaluable.
3. Why have you had so many jobs in such a short time?
Adding this to your list of interview questions may make your candidate uncomfortable, but it’s a good one to ask.
This question will help you tap into what motivates your potential employee, and will give you insight into why they might leave you in the future. It gives you a more in-depth picture of their job history, and what ultimately caused them to jump from employer to employer.
As a freelance writer, I take on several jobs per year. Projects start and end. I don’t usually leave until a project is well and truly over, but sometimes those projects only last a few weeks. However, if you had asked me this question in my youth (when I was working food services and retail), my answer would have been different.
In my past, I would stay at a company for about a year — sometimes longer — and then get bored and want something MORE out of life. None of my jobs offered me anything other than a paycheck. There was no deeper “meaning” to the work I was doing. So I kept seeking out something better.
If your applicant gets bored easily, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re offering a high-paced work environment with a grand ultimate goal to work towards, there’s a good chance they’ll be very happy with you. Boredom doesn’t always equal disloyalty.
However, if they chronically leave jobs because their boss “sucked,” that’s not a good sign. Any applicant who blames others — repeatedly — for their own actions isn’t a good choice.
4. How have you handled work disagreements in the past?
Adding this to your interview questions will show you how well your potential employee will mesh with your company’s culture. Your company is made up of people, and people sometimes get into disagreements. It’s part of human nature.
By asking your applicant how they handled disagreements in the past — either with a boss or a colleague — you can evaluate how well they’ll fit in with the other people on your staff.
As the leader, it’s your job to hire people who will mesh well with your team and play nice.
5. How do you like to be managed?
This is one of those interview questions that can rule someone out or in relatively quickly in the hiring process, depending on their answer.
If the job applicant’s answer to this question matches YOUR managing style, then place them in the “consider” pile. If their answer is wildly different from how you’d treat your employees, you can dismiss them right away.
6. Do you have any questions for me?
Even more important than the interview questions you ask your applicant are the questions they have for YOU. And they should, always, have questions for you.
The type of questions applicants ask vary wildly — and will give you enormous insight into where their personal concerns lie.
As a recruiter, have you used these interview questions before? What were your results? Share the article on Facebook and let us know — we’d love to hear from you!