5 Interview Questions to Tell Good Job Candidates from Great Ones

Interviews aren’t just nerve-wracking for job candidates—hiring managers face intense pressure to recruit top talent and cut any undesirable applicants loose. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to distinguish a great prospect from amediocre one. Managers only have a few tests and interviews to determine whether a potential employee will be a long-term asset. If they make the wrong decision, they may saddle their organization with a subpar worker.

So how can you tell great job candidates apart from a merely adequate one? The answer seems obvious: You ask the right questions in the interview. When your time is limited, you need to learn about an interviewee as quickly as possible. Applicants will expect common questions and may give stock answers. You can get to the heart of the matter if you follow these interview best practices, which involve taking a slightly unconventional routewhen it comes to the questions you ask.

Let these following interview questions guide your conversation with your job candidates. They’ll help you sniff out the best professionals, so you’ll never have to settle for a less-qualified worker again.

1. “What Interested You about This Position/This Company?”

You have a personal investment in your organization:you know where its strengths and weaknesses lie, and you understand what makes it unique. As a result, you can probably tell when someone genuinely wants to work with you and when someone’s just looking for a paycheque.

This question is relatively common, but it’s still effective. If interviewees give you stock answers that they lifted from your website, you’ll know they’re probably not the top talent you’re looking for. Great prospects will be able to identify your company’s basic strengths and explain why it kindles their passion.

2. “Why Did You Choose to Work in This Field?”

When candidates prepare for interviews, they often write out answers for stock questions. All candidates who walk through your door will be able to give you relatively convincing responses if you ask them about their weaknesses. You need questions that will probe a little deeper if you want to learn anything about a given applicant.

Early in the interview, ask your subject why he or she chose to work in this field. It’s hard for candidates to fake an answer to such a fundamental question, and it will be easy to tell if they aren’t answering honestly. Great workers will usually be able to project their enthusiasm for their work into their responses.

3. “Which Traits Are Most Likely to Lead to Success in This Position?”

You know what you’re looking for when you fill a position. Your candidates, on the other hand, may not. Before you hire a promising prospect, you need to ensure you’re on the same page. Ask candidates this question to gauge their awareness of the role. If they don’t know what they’ll need to do to succeed, they may not have the experience you seek.

4. “What Was Your Last Team Like?”

Your new hires won’t work in isolation. No matter how diligent they are, they won’t do you any good if they don’t mesh with your team. That’s why it’s important to ask them about their interactions with others at their past jobs. If they speak ill of their former co-workers or don’t seem terribly personable, they may not acclimatize well to your office.

5. “When You Think about Your Past Projects, Which One Makes You the Proudest and Why?”

Which would you rather have: an apathetic employee who just gets the job done or a passionate worker who takes pride in his or her work? If you want the latter, ask candidates about their past work. If they give you enthusiastic responses, you’ll know that they genuinely care about their performance. Plus, it can help you tell whether their skills suit the available position.

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Shannon Telepanich

Shannon Telepanich

Shannon is a Sr. Engineering Recruiter at the Ian Martin Group; a recruiter who is as much at home qualifying candidates and communicating with clients as building a search strategy. She has an in-depth understanding of search tools, skill requirements and ability to leverage professional networks to allow swift design and ability to impact strategic talent sourcing strategies that dive deep into industry sectors to identify game changers. When Shannon isn’t recruiting she is busy with two tenacious kidos and a big shaggy dog; A lover of all things nature minus the bugs.
Shannon Telepanich