What 8 Popular Interview Questions Reveal About Candidates

Posted by Paladin on March 20, 2017

The interview process is a critical part of finding the ideal candidate for your team. Interviews can be a great tool in determining the right candidate for you team — if you ask the right questions. Here are eight popular interview questions and what they’ll reveal about your candidates.

Describe a stressful situation you’ve faced.

This prompt can be used to assess candidates’ ability to work under duress. Do they crumble under the pressure, or are they able to stay calm? The details of the answer will also show their problem-solving skills, by showing how the situation was diffused.

Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond to get a job done.

The way candidates answer this will expose how motivated they are. You’ll know whether they just do what’s needed to get the job done, or if they’ll exert extra time and energy to ensure that the job gets done right.

When have you set difficult goals and how you did you achieve them?

Like most hiring managers, you probably have lofty goals set in place for your future hires. This question will help you find goal-oriented candidates who like to see results. Their answers will allow you to gauge whether or not they know what difficult goals are, if they put high goals in place for themselves, and if they are able to retain a high work standard in the midst of it all.

If you were the manager at your last position, what would you have changed?

This is one of the must-as interview questions out there. The answer will help you determine candidates’ managerial preference. It can also predict whether or not they will work well with their future managers. Pay close attention to what they say about their previous bosses. Do they have good things to say, or are their comments full of negativity? If it’s the latter, that can be a red flag about their ability to fit in with company culture.

What is your dream job?

It’s not likely that you’re interviewing candidates for their actual dream job. So, this question can help both of you realize how different your opening is than their ideal position, which can be helpful in determining fit. However, candidates may also find that your opening is more like their dream job than they thought, which can be exciting. In addition, this question is a great way to reveal candidates’ enthusiasm and to dig into their passions.

What is your definition of hard work?

This will help to reveal if candidates will be able to keep up with the pace of the job. If a candidate is currently at a slow-moving job, but says that it does not fit them well, this will give them an opportunity to explain why this position would be better-suited for them.

Talk about a time when you messed up at work.

The response to this prompt can be critical when evaluating candidates. You’re not looking for people who have never messed up. You’re looking for people who can own up to mistakes and learn from them. Listen to how the situation is explained. If candidates calmly explain the mistake, including what led up to it and how it was remedied, you’ll know that they understand what went wrong and that they took steps to correct it. If, instead, candidates blame others for what happened, that’s a red flag for a lack of accountability and teamwork.

Describe a team experience that you found rewarding and a team project that failed.

This question is especially important if candidates will be working with a team of people. Do they prefer to work as a team, or do they enjoy working by themselves? If they have found some personalities difficult to work with in the past, ask them to explain how they dealt with that situation. Listen to whether they took credit for successful team projects or if they credit the team. Particularly in team environments, humility is key.

The hiring process is always going to be a bit of a gamble, but the above questions can help you take some of the guesswork out by eliciting helpful information. Working with recruiters can help, too. Reach out to your local Paladin office today for help selecting the perfect candidate for your opening.

Posted in: Employers, Hiring Information

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