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Five Insightful Interview Questions to Screen Job Candidates

Posted on April 15, 2015 at 11:45 AM

Selecting great people to fill job openings is perhaps the single most important skill a leader can have. Over my career, I have interviewed hundreds of job candidates and learned many lessons that I encapsulated into a guide that I use to structure interviews. Here are some of the questions I have found that give very useful insights into candidates’ capabilities and attitude:

  1. Walk me through your resume in a nutshell in about a minute. (Note – This is a good icebreaker to start with. It also gives you a chance to see how well they listened to the question and how concise and structured they are in communication. Make sure you emphasize the “in a nutshell in about a minute” when asking the question.)

  2. Why are you interested in this job? (Note – This is another good icebreaker. It gives you insights to see how well they understand the job, why they are looking and how much homework they have done in researching your organization.)

  3. What do you think would be the most exciting part of this job? What would be the most difficult? (Note – These give you a sense of what they like and don’t like to do. It also gives you a sense of how well they understand the job.)

  4. Think about the best boss you have had in your career – what were their two biggest strengths? Now think about a bad boss you had in your career – what were their two biggest weaknesses? (Note – This gives a window on what it would be like to manage them. It’s often a very insightful question getting at their overall style and disposition.)

  5. Looking back in your career, what are the two biggest, most tangible, results that you made happen and are most proud of? (Note – This gives you an insight on their focus on getting actual results versus just showing up at work. Allows them to point out their strengths in context.)

If you would like a copy of my full interview guide — including more questions, scoring sheets and exercises — send me an email. Note that before you ask any questions to candidates, it is a good idea to run them by your human relations experts to make sure they are appropriate for your organization. Good luck and Happy Hiring!

Categories: Job Interviews