Off-the-wall interview questions get all the headlines, but standard interview questions become standard for a reason: they work.
Before you start asking applicants to figure out how many tennis balls would fit in the interview room, you should probably ask at least one, if not all, of the following questions.
1) Can You Tell Me About Yourself?
This standard interview question is designed to put candidates at ease. You’re more likely to get good responses from your interview subjects if they feel relaxed and more open to talking to you. It’s not that you want your subjects to become so comfortable that they slip up; it’s more about getting away from memorized answers.
2) What Was the Worst Part of Your Last Job?
When candidates come into an interview, they typically try to sound upbeat and positive. This is a great question because it asks candidates to be negative about something. This question can be very effective for raising red flags regarding candidates’ ability to handle adversity.
3) Why Did You Leave Your Last Job/ Do you Want to Leave Your Current Job?
There are good understandable reasons for leaving a job, and there are bad reasons for leaving a job. You want to hire candidates who feel they weren’t being challenged or who quit a job to go back to school. You should think twice about hiring people who left a job because of interpersonal conflicts or an inability to handle hard work.
4) What is Your Approach to Working with Difficult People?
It’s extremely hard to avoid personality conflicts in the workplace, and therefore you have to learn how to deal with people you find difficult. The ideal candidate is honest about having to work with difficult people and talks about having patience when dealing with this type of situation.
5) How Did You Handle the Last Time You Did Something Wrong?
Top candidates are confident enough in themselves that they will admit to making mistakes here and there. Ideally, a candidate will admit to making a significant but not catastrophic mistake, talk about how they handled it professionally, and discuss what they learned from the situation.
6) What Work Style Do You Prefer?
Everybody works differently. Some people prefer to work in highly collaborative environments and some people enjoy being a lone wolf. Of course, there’s no wrong way to work, but you want candidates to give a response that aligns with the working conditions of the open position. If someone enjoys working by themselves, they probably aren’t going to be great in a job that demands a lot of teamwork.
7) How Was Your Last Boss?
The best candidates will be honest when talking about their relationship with a former boss. A good response includes ways the candidate was able to thrive under their last boss and ways they had to adapt to their boss’s expectations.
8) What Traits Will Help You Succeed in This Position?
Before they walk into an interview, candidates to do their homework. This question aims to find out if a candidate has actually read the job description and figured out how to connect job requirements to their own skillset. Every good candidate should be able to handle this question with ease.
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