The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Let’s start interviewing

Power Interviewing

Moving on from our last article on basic mindfulness of conducting interview discussions, its time to remind ourselves about the effectiveness of some simple and yet important questions.

Interviewing is both an art and a science, and with enough preparation you can reap the rewards in the form of an awesome new hire who’s eager to join your team. You would want to get the most out of it by asking strategic questions. What would some of those questions be? 

Strategic interview questions to ask candidates include a mix of general and behavioural questions.

General questions

Are broad and holistic in nature and can be used in almost any interview. The objective with these questions is to gain as much information about the candidate as possible.

There are no right or wrong answers for these questions. However, interviewer’s listening skills will have to be top notch. You would need to hear the unsaid and understand what the candidate is trying to communicate.

Tell us about yourself…

As common as this question may be, it’s a powerful first question. Not only it will give upper hand to the candidate, it will also offer you the most interesting insight into a candidate’s background and experience. Since it’s an open ended question, it allows candidates to choose and be creatively impactful. And the
same could be observed. Not only will it provide useful insights, it will also pave way for leading questions later in the interview.

What do you think are the most essential qualities needed for this job?

Now, this question will allow you to see how well the candidate has understood the requirements and their fitment into the role. Based on what aspects they share, you may probe them for some instances from their current or past work where they would have displayed those attributes.

What was your biggest learning from a mistake at work?

One of my favourite framework is SWOT analysis and ‘W’ has always been my top quadrant. You can use this question as your truth serum. Ask the candidate about a major mistakes or a weakness. This may make the candidate a bit uncomfortable as no one likes to discuss failure but it is actually

a positive question because the candidate has a great chance to showcase their ability to learn from mistakes. Most of the time candidates will try to dilute their weaknesses or mistakes by either giving a generic mistake instance or diverting the discussion in other direction. My suggestion is that you stick to your path and come back to probe more on that. Trust me this is where your A players are waiting for you.

What is the area of expertise that you believe you know better than anyone else?

This can be one of the best questions to determine whether the candidate is the right person for the job or not. The expertise shared by them could be a hard or a soft skill or even a combination of both. Again, a simple but can fetch good amount of information around skills, confidence, clarity and purpose.

Behavioural questions

Ask for specific instances where a certain behaviour was showcased or how a problem was encountered. These questions help ascertain whether what has been shared in general questions can be substantiated through the detailed response or otherwise. They will give you working examples of how the candidate might act or behave in actual organizational situations.

Share an example of how you solved a problem creatively…

Look for the level of detailing provided in the answer. Specific, result-oriented responses carry more weightage than generic because this is where you will try to see what step did they actually take to solve a problem.

Tell us about a time when you encountered an angry customer and what you did about it?

Look for confidence and positive demeanour in the candidate. Is there a problem solving and pleasing approach or are there push-backs and deviation of the topic. Be mindful of any red flags that may come up during this discussion.

Tell us about an instance when you had a conflict with your boss or a co-worker?

In every organizations, there are different personalities and clashes are unavoidable. But what’s most important is how an employee handles it. This is another example where the candidate’s communication skills, patience and perseverance can be assessed.

Can you tell us about the biggest project you worked on from start to finish?

One of my favourite questions, this will provide the interviewer with a solid response that could have examples of collaboration, teamwork and innovation.

How the candidate frames the example will also tell you how organized their mind is around what they work on. As an interviewers or hiring managers, our endeavour is or should be to match the resume with the person. Afterall we don’t want to hire the Resumes.