Hiring managers are always looking for ways to find the next great candidate for their jobs. Unfortunately, the only chance an interviewer has to get to know a candidate is at the job interview, and job interviews can be misleading, because how someone performs at a job interview may not necessarily represent how effective they’ll be at their job.
The only way you will be hiring the right employee is to ask questions that will highlight the best of the best. Here are some great questions to ask candidates at the next job interview.
Question 1: “I noticed you mentioned you know how to do Task X on your resume. If we can find a computer, do you mind showing me?”
Lying on someone’s resume is all too common, which is why this is a great question to ask at the job interview. If a skill on the resume is needed to perform the job well, ask the candidate politely if they are willing to prove it to you. If the candidate doesn’t truly know how to do the task they’ll immediately look for excuses not to. You don’t actually need to have them do the task. You simply need to watch their reaction when you suggest that you do.
Question 2: “What is your biggest weakness?”
Here’s a tricky one. This is an old-school question that every hiring manager asks at the job interview. Originally it was designed to see if the candidate was really willing to list a weakness that may prevent them from doing the job. However, these days it can tell you something else. Namely, it can tell you how much a candidate rehearsed for their job interview. Most candidates that over-rehearsed will say something along the lines of “I’m a perfectionist.” This is a terrible answer, and it tells you that all of the candidate’s answers may be suspect, so you’ll need to drill them even further.
Question 3: “What didn’t you like about your last boss?”
Lots of people feel victimized by management. Good employees know how to overcome it, while bad employees tend to simply play the victim card and claim that their boss treated them unfairly. Look between the lines and see if you can pinpoint the employees that are still bitter about their last job. However, keep an open mind too – sometimes employees really were victimized by their previous employer. Pay attention to how they answer, not necessarily the content.
Question 4: “What are your three greatest weaknesses?”
Looking back at question two, we see that many candidates have learned about the greatest weakness question and found ways around answering it. However, you obviously want to keep your candidates honest. That’s why a great question for hiring managers to ask for three greatest weaknesses. A prepared candidate will have only one. An over-prepared candidate will have two. No candidate is going to have three weaknesses at the ready. This question should force them to think more about how to actually answer the question, and will hopefully provide you with a better answer.
Question 5: “… is that it?”
It should be clear now that one of the hardest things for a hiring manager to do is tell when an answer is rehearsed and when it’s real. So a popular way around this is to give the candidate a little bit of a stress test at the job interview. When they give an answer to a question that’s important for your company, give them a long pause and add “is that it?” Few applicants are ready for that type of challenge, and the best applicants are going to find a way to still shine with their response.
Finding the Right Questions for a Job Interview
It’s easy to spot the worst candidates at a job interview. They’re the ones that walk into the interview talking about how they were fired for stealing, or the ones that are openly crude, insulting, or unintelligent to the point of being laughable.
The tough thing for a hiring manager is to find the candidate that is truly great for the role. To do that, you will need to not only ask tough questions – you will also need to find ways to keep even the most rehearsed candidates on their toes. The questions above are just a few examples of how you can uncover the truly great candidates.