Are they ready for the hot seat? The 7 best interview questions you can ask
In a time where finding talent can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, you need sharp interview questions to pinpoint your next hire. We’ve got seven of the best – you may have heard them before, but do you know what they reveal?
The purpose of interviewing is to peel a polished CV back and reveal the real person behind it – their personality, skills, abilities and weaknesses. Hiring doesn’t come cheap, so we’re going to help you tune out the blaggers and save you time, energy and money in the long run.
1.“Why should I hire you?”
Great candidates should know how to pitch themselves like brands, and sell their USP (unique selling point). Look out for someone who will highlight their quantifiable achievements or skills from their CV, rather than blathering about ‘passion’, ‘bags of enthusiasm’ or ‘willingness to learn’.
2. “What didn’t you like about your last job?”
You might see a silent ‘yikes’ cross the face of your candidate when you drop this to sniff out ‘weaknesses’. Smart candidates will have thought about this; it’s an exercise in balanced diplomacy. If they ‘bitch’ about the boss, difficult colleagues or anti-social working hours, they’ll bitch about you, too.
A great candidate will score brownie points by making their least favourite aspects of their last role a sort-of positive; “I enjoyed the role but felt I’d like more of a challenge or responsibility” rather than “I don’t like the people I work with”.
3.“What’s your biggest weakness?”
According to Monster, this can be another potential pitfall for candidates to navigate. Look for candidates who turn this seemingly negative question into a ‘positive’ answer; something like, “I can get overly committed and passionate about projects”, rather than “I can get argumentative with colleagues”. Being overly committed to a project never hurt its chances, but upsetting the harmony and culture of a workplace hurts everyone.
4.“What motivates you?”
This is an insight into your candidate’s brain and heart. Are they driven by a desire to innovate, money, public recognition, doing good for others? This helps you determine whether they’re a right fit for your company’s ethics and working culture.
Your ideal candidate will mention things like extracurricular activities, work experience or studies that show they are truly passionate about something other than the job. Anything from volunteering to putting on social events can indicate a positive contribution to the company, and be a source of expertise that’s useful to the role. Unless it’s a sales-focused job, material motivations like money can also determine whether a candidate is likely to move on quickly once they get a ‘better’ pay offer elsewhere.
5. “How do you cope with repetition?”
This gives you a valuable insight into how a team member will cope with the level of repetition that may be associated with the job. It’ll determine whether they’ll stay or leave.
A good sign is the candidate mentioning keeping proactive and having a patient approach to the work. They might mention finding ways to make the repetitive more interesting, and even coming up with questions and solutions the wider business would find interesting.
6.“I see you’ve changed careers. Why should I give you an opportunity at this company doing this role?”
According to Business Insider, if a candidate has decided to change careers later in the game, then this clues you in to how motivated they are. The hunger to succeed and try new things is not something that should abate with age.
A great candidate will show that they can add value to your business through the diverse skills they’ve gained from their previous life (or lives). They should expand on how they earned the insight, skills and experience your business didn’t know it needed.
7. “What are the first three things you would do in the role if we hired you?”
The question is a real test for candidates, according to The Balance, as they have to show how much they understand the requirements of the role.
You should see just how well they’ve researched your current projects, the company’s operations, and demonstrate what they’ll contribute to the business. This is how you get them to really pitch themselves without putting them on the spot.