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How do you get the insights and information you need during job interviews? Asking the right questions is one key to getting critical intelligence, but figuring out just what to ask can be a challenge.
Will your question give the job candidate the opportunity to show off a well-rehearsed answer? Or will it push the interviewee to think, consider, and respond spontaneously and truthfully? If you try out original questions, will the candidate see the relevance and will their answers provide the evidence you need?
Careers website Glassdoor recently compiled a list of tried-and-true questions, including:
Of course, the Glassdoor team also has a list of “eccentric” questions, including:
Illegal Interview Questions
Following are some of the more common illegal interview questions. While many HR and Recruiting staff know that these questions are illegal, many hiring managers do not. This is not an exhaustive list, just a list of the most common. And while you most likely will not be arrested for asking these questions, you could find yourself and your business under a microscope for discriminatory hiring practices
Personal vision statements
Though some of those questions are predictable and others weird, practiced interviewers have some other helpful ideas.
Frank Evans, HR director at Alliance Credit Union in Fenton, Missouri, requests candidates to complete a “personal vision statement” during job interviews. In the first part of the statement, he asks candidates to give him a sentence or two about what kind of employee they want to be.
For part two, he asks them to provide a list of behaviors or traits they will show on the job daily so they match the first part of their statement. He gives the candidate examples for both parts.
This provides insights that continue to be useful. Evans notes that it supplies him with their thoughtful opinion about “about what they think will make them successful. It indicates whether they can make the connection between how they behave and their success–or lack thereof.”
The candidate’s vision also helps him manage performance if the person is hired. “If an employee is not showing the right behaviors, nothing helps make the point more than revisiting their personal vision statement and reminding them of what they essentially promised you before they were hired,” Evans says.
A group of executives was polled about their favorite interview questions in an online post on AOL Small Business. Here are a few of their responses:
“If I left you with a large, long-haired dog for 15 minutes and asked you to count/estimate the hair on the dog’s body, how would you approach getting me the most accurate hair count?”
This is a question from Julie Jumonville, cofounder and chief innovation officer at UpSpring Baby. According to her, the candidates most likely to be hired are those who responded they would make friends with the dog rather than bother trying to count hairs.
“Are you good at troubleshooting?” is the question recommended by Warren Brown, founder of CakeLove and Love Café. “If they ask me what I mean, the interview is over.”
Steve Strauss, columnist and author of The Small Business Bible suggests asking, “What is your favorite book or favorite movie?” He finds this makes the interview more personal and usually reveals interesting information about the interviewee.
It is my opinion that you will never get the information you need unless you ask open ended situational interview questions. Think of an issue in your work and ask the question. So for example you are a busy medical office and you are interviewing for a receptionist. Consider:
“In a typical day you could have three lines ringing, one of the doctors asking you a question and two people waiting to sign in and pay their co-pays. How do you handle that situation.”
Some other great questions that are open ended include:
Let them take a minute or two to consider the situation and then answer and the most important part is to LISTEN to what they have to say and pay attention to your radar. In Human Resources the adage of “past performance is a future predictor” really holds strong.
All of this information should tell you that every interviewer has their own style. Good luck finding yours.