Hiring new talent can be one of the most difficult yet rewarding events a manager can experience during their time with an organization. When a position first opens, a lot of time and effort will go into creating the perfect job description, posting it to a variety of online job boards, emailing it out internally, and poring over stacks and stacks of resumes. When you finally narrow down the pool of candidates and start inviting them in for interviews, you may think that the search is almost over – you can see the light at the end of this long tunnel. But don’t prop up your feet just yet.
Interviewing candidates will be the most crucial part of the process. While every potential hire that shakes your hand will seem polite and refined, you need to have an arsenal of questions ready to determine if this person will be the right fit for your organization and role. In many cases, unprepared interviewers will compile a generic list of questions such as, “What would you say is your greatest weakness?” or “Why should we hire you?” These types of questions will give you the rehearsed side of the candidate which can sometimes mask red flags that need to be identified before moving the process forward. So how can you be sure that you’re not missing something with your candidate pool? Easy. Ask the candidates these three questions and see how quickly they can think on the spot.
“Tell me about a time that you failed miserably at something and how did you move forward from that time?”
Experience is the best teacher. During your time with a candidate, you will want to hear about how their past experiences have shaped them into the individual you’re seeing on that day. Learning how someone has dealt with complete failure will help you to see a few critical things: their weaknesses, how they regained composure post-failure, evaluate if they found a lesson in their failure and were able to grow from it – or perhaps they’re on track to repeat it. This one question can reveal several key qualities in a person.
“What did you do to prepare for this interview today?”
This is a question that will take a candidate by surprise, which will hopefully encourage them to be honest. In a saturated job market, you’ll sometimes find candidates that apply for many jobs, attend many interviews, and yet care little about what the actual job role entails. It’s important to weed out any individuals who are looking for a better paycheck and not much else – that will come through quickly with this question. For an individual that is going to make a real effort within your organization, you will find that they spent hours looking through your website, social media channels, and company review sites to be fully prepared when they are finally face-to-face with you.
“What is your personal definition of success?”
Don’t forget throughout the hiring process that in the end, you are hiring a human being who will be motivated by very specific things. It’s important to know if someone’s end goal is to pay off their student loan debt versus working their way up through the ranks to an upper management position. This question will also help you as the hiring manager to identify if the job you’d be offering an individual will fit within their goals for success. It’s just as important to find the right candidate for the job as it is to find the right job for a candidate to ensure long-lasting, committed team members.
The next time you head into the interview room, be sure to sprinkle these three questions into your usual asks for deeper insight into who could potentially be your newest hire. Stay away from generic “get-to-know-you” questions and cut right to the chase – not only will it save you time and energy, but your candidates will walk away with a unique experience that will better prepare them for their future correspondence with your organization.