Interactive and Telling Interview Questions

Really get to know your candidates.

Today’s candidates are savvy in looking perfect for a job … paper. How can you conduct an interview that will tell you whether they truly know their stuff, are a good cultural fit for your organization and have the competencies and skills you’re looking for in an employee? Asking a variety of thought provoking, and sometimes creative, interactive interview questions will allow insight into a person’s knowledge, skills and abilities.

Your candidate should always possess the knowledge needed to complete the job.

A no-brainer, right? Questions that will determine whether the candidate truly possesses the skills and knowledge to perform the job at hand are usually the first asked, and rightly so. Just make sure that these are not the only questions asked.

Your candidate should be a strong communicator.

Regardless of position or seniority level, you should always want to hire effective communicators. All employees will use this important skill in order to work efficiently with their coworkers, manager, clients and external partners.

To determine how well a candidate communicates, ask questions like:

  1. Explain something to me in 5 minutes that is complicated but that you know well.
  2. Tell me about a time you proposed a new program or idea to your organization. How did you get your colleagues’ buy-in?
  3. What team communication tools have you used; do you find the tools efficient? Why or why not?
  4. Tell me about a time you have dealt with an angry customer, co-worker or manager.
  5. Have you had to have a difficult conversation with a manager, peer or direct report? How did it go?
  6. What method of communication do you prefer? (email, phone, instant message, text) Why?
Your candidate should possess competencies and skills that are attuned to your company culture and values.

It’s important to know that your candidate will be a good fit for their team and your company culture. Employers cannot take a chance on someone who won’t mesh well with their existing team, doesn’t share common goals with their colleagues, and is not aligned with the mission of the company.

Allow your candidates to tell stories and ask open-ended questions to get a better feel for their personality. Consider questions like:

  1. Describe a time when you worked successfully as part of a team to accomplish something. What was your role within the team? What made it so successful? (You can turn this question around to find out about a time they’ve failed and what they learned.)
  2. Describe a situation you feel you should have handled differently.
  3. Is it better to be perfect and late, or good and on time? Explain.
  4. Tell me about a time you made a major mistake.
  5. Tell the candidate about your company’s values and ask them what they think of those values. You can ask them for examples of times they have displayed those values.
Your candidate should be able to problem solve.

Let’s face it, what job does not encounter problems? If you found one, please let me know. Every employee faces various degrees of problems on the job regularly. How well your candidate creatively problem solves may be a significant indication of how they will succeed in the position.

  1. What was the best idea you came up with in your current position?
  2. Describe your most stressful work situation. How did you handle it?
  3. Tell me about a work-related problem that you have not solved yet.
  4. Name a situation in which you found a creative way to overcome an obstacle.
  5. Give an example of a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventive measures.
Your candidate should display basic knowledge and understanding about your company and the position.

If your candidate is excited about the opportunity to work for you, they will research your company. It should be evident in how prepared they are throughout the interview process. To probe their interest, ask some of these questions.

  1. What do you know about [name of your company]?
  2. From what you know about [name of your company], tell me how you would pitch our products/services.
  3. Why do you feel you would be a good fit here at [insert your company name]?
  4. What do you think will be your favorite part about this position? Least favorite? Why?
  5. How will this job be different and/or better than your current position?
  6. Do you have any questions about our company and what we do here?

Asking a variety of questions that allow a candidate to open up and tell stories, relax and be themselves as much as possible will give you a much better idea of how likely the candidate is to succeed in both the role and in the company itself. Make sure you schedule enough time to go through all of the questions you have for each candidate. Good candidates will also come with their own questions, so be sure to allow for additional time.

Tandem HR

For additional information on finding the perfect candidate for your company culture or creating an exceptional workplace, contact Tandem HR. Tandem HR is a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) or outsource HR solution in the Chicago area. We work with hundreds of businesses to bring HR, payroll and benefits solutions, while keeping them compliant with employment law. We are proud of all of our exceptional workplace partners and we’d love to talk to you about making your workplace even better.

Contact us today at 630.928.0510 or Simplify@TandemHR.com to learn how Tandem HR can take your HR to the next level.