The best interview questions give you insight into how the candidate works best, what they have learned from their experience and education and tell you how they have performed in the past. They build off the resume and go far beyond mere words.
Insightful interview questions tell you about what the candidate says but also show you what they mean. They reveal strengths and weaknesses, areas of skill and knowledge and should give you an idea of what the candidate will do in the future.
Powerful Questions You Should Be Asking In Your Next Interview
1. Knowing about our needs and the role, what would you be uniquely qualified to accomplish if hired?
This question is helpful for a few reasons. First, have they done some homework on your business and your needs? This demonstrates they are passionate and interested. Have they listened when you've talked about the role?
What sets them apart from the competitors and how would they bring you success? This demonstrates they understand what you need and can assess their skills to see what is a match.
2. What special qualities and talents do you bring to the table?
You aren't asking the trite – tell me about your strengths – but you are getting the same information. Candidates should be able to know exactly what they can accomplish and what makes them uniquely qualified.
If you get a generic answer you might have an indication they aren't really that special. I'd take a unique perspective that is maybe not that great any day over hearing “I'm a real people person” again.
The person who puts an effort into explaining their unique experiences, education, personal interests and credentials usually is the better candidate.
3. What changes would you make to your career if given a chance?
Most of us follow a winding path to get to the roles that fulfill us. Along the way, we make missteps and have to re-calibrate our progress.
When someone can tell me honestly about the mistakes they've made or how they can see a better way exists, I know they have the ability to learn and adapt. If they wouldn't change a thing, I'd be curious why. And if they dwell on negativity or pass the buck, you have a good insight into the kind of employee they will be.
4. What would your last employer tell me you excelled at? What would they say you need to focus on improving? How would they say you get along with your co-workers?
Again, you are looking for the candidates that go beyond the generic responses. You want someone who has a good, open relationship with their past managers and who takes advice to heart. If they can't come up with anything or make it original, I start to wonder how they take feedback and if they are a good listener.
5. What made your favorite boss a good fit for you? How did they resolve conflict? What did you learn from them?
You'll get some insight into what kind of manager they work well with. Also, you'll find out what they think of their management style and how the manager helped their career. If they say silly things like they gave nice raises or can't really get specific you'll learn some more about them as an employee.
6. Talk about your least favorite manager. What was it specifically that you didn't enjoy? How did they handle employee issues? What did you learn from that experience?
Same as above but you'll also see how they talk about someone they don't like. And, you'll find out if it really pushed them to be a better employee or if they just kept their head down until they could leave.
7. What is your primary motivation?
Some of this is to show if they are a hard worker, but it has other merits. You'll get a better picture of what they are like to manage – what drives them, what would engage the candidate and what would turn them off.
There are many questions you should be asking in an interview but keep these powerful ones in your pocket. You'd be surprised how much insight you can get if you listen carefully.