April 25, 2017 – Vicki Pero -

3 Favorite Interview Questions and Why I Use Them

Our clients facilitate the recruitment process in a variety of ways, but one consistent step in the process is an interview between each final candidate and the hiring manager he or she will report to if hired.  Everyone can agree that the objective of candidate interviews is to truly get to know this person, determine whether they are qualified for the role and determine how they will fit into the team.  Hiring managers take vastly different approaches in terms of interview questions to get there though ranging from making a decision within the first few minutes “following their gut instinct”, to a promising recent trend where an increasing number of hiring managers recognize that asking meaningful questions and then listening to the candidate’s responses.  If you are in this last category, congratulations! This is one of the most effective ways to identify the best candidate for the role. If you’re already using this approach or would like to start, add the following 3 questions to your arsenal of interview questions to help you effectively evaluate candidates.

  1. Share one example of how you contributed to the company’s success in your previous position.

I like this question for a few reasons.  It allows a candidate to share an accomplishment in a way that connects to the company’s performance.  It’s always interesting to see if candidates are able to connect their work to the bigger picture, and it can also be valuable in terms of gathering measurable performance results.

This question can also help evaluate listening skills.  Candidates who respond with one meaningful contribution really stand out from those that provide a rambling list. 

  1. Describe a time when a project or a decision you made resulted in a disappointment. How did you resolve it and what were the lessons learned going forward?

For me, this question replaces the ever popular “tell me your greatest weakness question”, which doesn’t really generate an authentic or useful response from candidates. 

I am as interested in whether a candidate will share a mistake they have made, many try to avoid this assuming it indicates weakness, as the mistake and follow up action itself.  We all make mistakes, and if a candidate is unable to describe one that they have made and how they improved as a result, it is an indicator to me that this person may not be open to learning new things, taking risks and/or receiving feedback. 

  1. What do you do to continue to develop yourself professionally and remain up to speed on changing compliance and business priorities?

The business environment is dynamic, and we must all continue to grow and develop to be successful.  I like this question, because it helps to determine if the candidate embraces this mindset and will continue to do so in a new role. 

Are you interested in more interviewing skills tips?  Check out these additional posts on our blog for further guidance:

Talent In Today’s World of Technology

At What Point Do You Make a First Impression On a New Hire?

On Your Mark, Get Set, Interview!

Do you have interview questions that have helped you to effectively evaluate candidates?  Share them here, so other hiring managers can benefit from them.