4 insightful interview questions

Get to know your candidates.

Right now, tens of thousands of people around the world are having a stress dream about a job interview. Some will just be discovering they didn’t put their trousers on. Other’s won’t be able to find the room number. A lucky few may be struggling to understand why this company is entirely run by tiny elephants.

The reality is often far more stark. If you’re a candidate, you wear your most uncomfortable shirt, inevitably overheat before you’ve even made it into the room, and spend 15 minutes answering bland, closed questions about your professional experience. If you’re interviewing, you likely forget the appointment completely until someone forcibly pushes you into the room, where you agonisingly scan over their CV until you summon the will to ask them about their gap year.

If you really want to get to know your candidate, you need to move beyond the obvious “yes/no” and fact based questions, and start asking them to reflect…on their experiences, their goals, and their personality within a team. And the best part is, this conversation can be fun!

So next time you’re meeting your newest hire for the first time, why not think about throwing in one or two of these insightful questions…

1. When was the last time you failed?

This is a great question for two reasons. First, it helps you to understand what your candidate considers to be failure, and second, you can deduce how quickly they are able to bounce back when unexpected circumstances occur.

Follow up question: what did you do next?

2. Where do you go for good advice?

Confident people seek out resources and the help of others to solve problems beyond the scope of their existing knowledge base. You want confident people in your business. Are they a Advice-Seeking Annie or a Struggle-Alone Sally?

Follow up question: what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

3. Who is your biggest champion?

This question gives you an opportunity to understand what someone’s more intimate relationships are like, without getting too personal, too soon. From academic mentors, to parents, to friends, understanding who is supporting and guiding an individual on their journey can tell you a lot about where they’re going.

Follow up question: how would they describe you in five words?

4. What are the qualities of a great company?

This is an opportunity to do some research about their expectations of working life. Asking objectively (as opposed to asking about their past employment) gives you an insight into what excites them, as well as what their priorities might be as their career progresses.

Follow up question: where do you think our company does and doesn’t fit this brief?

Keep it conversational, challenge them and reflect on their answers. After all, it’s not a game of ping pong, it’s a conversation!

CharlieHR is the HR platform for teams with big ideas. Building a company is hard, running one shouldn’t be. Find out more here.

Neo Sepulveda

Neo Sepulveda

Software engineer at CharlieHR 💻. I like climbing things quite a bit 🐒.

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