Transcript of ESBHR Podcast #7: The Best Interview Questions To Ask Any Candidate
Listen to the audio version here
I will be discussing the four best types of questions to ask in an interview, no matter what type of job it is that you are interviewing for and then why you should ask those questions.
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I consider these questions to be core questions that should be added to the behavioral interview questions that you will be asking that are very specific to your job opening.
But one caveat that these questions that I am about to recommend may need to be tweaked a bit to fit the type of job that you are interviewing for.
Here’s number one of my best interview questions. The first question is:
We all make mistakes on the job, share with me two mistakes that you have made in your current or past job. How did you resolve these mistakes and what did you learn from the mistake?
Now why ask this particular question? Well, even the best workers make mistakes. So the question requires the job applicant being interviewed to use specific work related examples that highlight their ability to acknowledge that they have made mistakes.
It also demonstrates the applicant’s ability to problem solve, to fix mistakes, and to make decisions under stress.
In some circumstances, mistakes cannot be fixed, as we all know. But whether or not a mistake is fixable or not, the question also gives you the opportunity to understand what they have learned from the mistake. Their answer should demonstrate in some way that the mistake became a learning experience which allowed the employee to do a better job when faced with a similar situation in the future.
Best interview question number 2 is asking a hypothetical question. Here is my example of a hypothetical interview question:
It has been two years since I hired you in (insert the title of your role in this section), when you look back on your job responsibilities, in what ways would you measure your success in this role?
Now why ask this question? This is a hypothetical question that you should ask after you have clearly explained the job responsibilities and the expectations to the person being interviewed.
The goal with this question is to determine how well the interviewees understands your job requirements for their role and to get the job applicants to share with you how they can specifically add value to your job based on their overall experience.
You will also gain some insight on the level of experience the job applicant has based on his ability to apply concrete hypothetical accomplishments based on your job requirements.
Best interview question number 3 is: If I were to contact your current supervisor today for reference, what would he or she say about your work performance your attention to detail, and your commitment to the job?
Why ask this particular question? Well, this question can give you a sense of how honest and how self aware the candidate is about their work experience. When I interview job candidates, I often use the candidate’s response to this particular question as part of my reference check.
For example, if the candidate’s response to this question is that my current supervisor will say that I am a dedicated worker who is always on time, who has worked hard and excelled at all of my tasks.
When I actually call to check that reference, I will share the employees’ feedback with their supervisor and ask them to confirm the employees’ assessment of their own skills.
This is also a good time to ask the reference to provide specific work related examples that support the applicant’s assessment of their job skills.
Best interview question number 4: Share with me three work related examples that support your statement that you have strong customer service skills.
Now this is an example where you can tweak the question and replace “strong customer service skills” with any type of skill set or experience that you are looking for.
Now why do I ask this question? Many applicants will tell you that they have strong or excellent customer service skills using the customer service skills as an example but the proof is really on the pudding as they say. Asking for very specific work related examples that support their statement will give you a very clear sense of your potential hires’ interpersonal skills and how they proceed and treat customers or clients.
I wish you luck in your hiring efforts!
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