February 2nd, 2021

Different types of questions to ask in an interview

The backbone of any firm primarily entails the people they hire. Hence, it goes without saying, there needs to be a great level of detail and caution when bringing an individual on board, as a high attrition rate can be expensive and time consuming for the company. This makes it imperative to unravel all the mysteries of the candidate before hiring, through a mix of behavioral, situational and career development questions.

Why are behavioral questions important?

Well, they give an insight as to how they managed or fared in their previous roles. They also help you to unfold the candidate by getting them to share their real time experiences. For example, instead of asking “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”, some alternative questions could be: –

1. What are the top achievements you have a garnered in your previous role?
a. Follow-up question: What traits helped you achieve these accolades?
2. What is an area that you need to improve that has been pointed out by your previous manager?
a. Give me an example.
3. Explain a situation in your previous role where you yourself identified a process that you were not performing correctly.
a. How did you realise this and what steps did you take to correct it?

Why are situational questions important?

These are a great way to evaluate the critical and emotional intelligence of a person. This is a curveball for the candidate as they won’t be able to provide you with scripted answers.

1. How would you handle the situation if you were forced to work with a colleague who tended to disagree with most of your ideas on completing the project?
2. How would you handle criticism from our superior if you did not agree with their point of view?
3. If you faced a situation where you were asked to complete three projects, how would you prioritize and finish the work within the set deadlines?

Why ask career development questions?

What you want to evaluate here is if the candidate is motivated to be in the company for the long term or not. These types of questions set expectations and also help you understand if they are achievable. You can possibly start with questions related to stability in their previous roles.

1. What motivated you to stay with Company ABC for 8 plus years?
2. What was the best practice introduced by you within the firm that you are most proud of?
3. What is motivating you to move on from your current role?

This leads onto a funnel in terms of their expectations for their next role

1. What are you looking to achieve in the next 3-5 years?
2. What is your expectation of a career progression with FIRM XYZ

It is not necessary that the entire interview is based on the job profile. You can tread a slightly different route by asking them various other questions that uncover their personality.

  • Tell me something that is not on your CV
  • Outside of work, what would you consider your biggest accomplishment to be?
  • How would your friends describe you as opposed to your work colleagues?

In conclusion, mastering the art of recruitment takes time and skill. Moving on from the standard question of “tell me about yourself”, it is important to analyze and understand the personality, past behaviors and true motivations of the candidate and what really drives them. Once this is achieved, you set yourself in a position to understand the true placeability of the candidate.

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