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Interview Questions to Help Choose Great Employees

Interview Questions to Help Choose Great Employees

job-interview-womenContinuing our series on employing the right people, we’re going to consider the not so obvious questions you MUST ask during an interview.

The ability to perform the job is why the are there. But how they will impact the team, is in many cases more important, than their ability. The wrong person can ruin the team environment you’ve spent time creating. So while they’re not perfect questions to ask, these questions go a long way to getting to understand the person behind the ‘interview chair.”

Asking questions that examine even the littlest detail which reveal their personality are known as ‘behavioral questions’.

Behavioral questions determine how an applicant dealt with past situations and will give you an idea of how they will handle similar situations in the future.

These questions will help to give you an insight into their character. Even the manner of how they tell the story reveals how honest and confident a person is.

The questions also put them on the spot. Their response should be dynamic, and will underline their personality. They also help you gain insight into how a person will perform on assigned tasks and with their colleagues.

Example Questions

1. “Describe your former boss.”  

Letting an applicant describe their former boss is not about the previous boss, but all about their character in how they deal with authority. The amount and kind of information they disclose gives you insight into themselves, their attitude and ego.

2. “Share how you in a previous situation you had to address what was on your mind and how you had to let your colleagues know what you felt or thought.”

This grants you insight as to how they express themselves, with colleagues –  if it’s straightforward, beating around the bush, or offensive.

3. “How did you deal with a former coworker whom you disliked?”

This is all about team dynamics. You cannot expect everyone to like everyone.  Understanding how they will work within the team is vital.

4. “Have you ever had to disagree with a decision, yet you still approved the decision? Why?”

Their response will shed light on how much they’re a follower. Agreeing to a decision even if it was against what was planned, ‘for the common good’ shows that they value other opinions equally to their own. If they stood firm, why? It shows their thought process, as well as their own security and confidence in their decision making ability and is a mark of their character.

5. “Let’s say we hired you, and you got fired after a couple of months. What do you think would be the reason?”

The ability to admit their failures and faults demonstrates a humble character. It provides an opportunity to stop selling themselves – which naturally occurs during an interview.  This is more telling and honest and presents them in an ‘unplugged’ or ‘unfiltered’ vulnerable moment. In many ways this will sell them better, than all of their previous braggadocio.

6. “How have you faced a personal crises or problem while at work?”  

Separating your personal life from your work life is very hard. Their answer demonstrates their level of professionalism or lack thereof.

Everyone should know and understand why they are two different worlds, and as such are not mixed. Problems at home shouldn’t be brought to work and vice versa.

7. “If you’re assigned work that isn’t part of your job description, what will you do?”

Team player or not team player.  There are those that will not, or are uncomfortable doing something that isn’t part of what was agreed upon. You need to know this upfront.  Is this what you want from one of your team members? It is a good applicant if they give a positive answer such as a willingness to learn how to perform the task. A willingness to learn and grow is important.

8. “How did you handle an unexpected situation that you encountered in the past?”

The ability to handle ‘life’s curve balls” is an important task. The US Marines have a saying ‘Adapt and Overcome”. Unexpected situations bring out the best and worst in a person. It is vital to know how they will react. Working under a pressurized environment entails unplanned events and good decision-making skills.  It is also the norm for over 85% of most companies and jobs today.

9. “Explain how you solved a conflict or disagreement between you and a former colleague.”

Disputes are unavoidable in the workplace. How they handle these situations is vital. Being able to solve it amicably is very important.

10. “What will your references say about you?”

Character references validate everything that is stated in a person’s resume but it can also contradict them. An applicant who’s confident that everything that is stated in his credentials are true and that he only gives honest answers during the interview doesn’t need to worry about this question.

11. If you got hired, loved everything about this job, and are paid the salary you asked for, what kind of offer from another company would you consider?

Understanding how driven a candidate is by money enables you to understand their motives. It also shows if they can be bought.

You’ll be surprised by some of the answers.

12. Who is your role model, and why?

Revealing how introspective the candidate is about their own personal and professional development, is a quality that is highly correlated with success and ambition.

It will also show their interests they have, along with the attributes and behaviors the candidate aspires to.


These other similar questions will help you get to know the applicant and aid you in making great hires.  All the best on your hiring process.

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