10 Powerful Interview Questions to Ask and Gauge a Candidate's Behavior

BY C. Lee Smith
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How do you know if you are asking the right interview questions? Hiring a great employee is certainly a positive indication. Unfortunately, the outcome of the hiring process is not always successful.

Interview Questions

If you have hired an employee who is not working out, you may have skipped over important interview topics. Did you know that many hiring managers ask candidates fewer than 10 questions? That may not be a problem if you get the information you need.

But too often, generic questions that give the candidate an easy way out don’t allow you to know the person.

As a hiring manager, you want to learn more about a candidate’s soft skills. Specifically, you want to understand how they will behave in the workplace. I recommend that you give your candidates a psychometric assessment and customize the job interview questions based on the results.

Skills Questions

1. Do you consider yourself to be an expert in any field? If so, which one and why?

    A candidate’s answer to this question allows you to understand what they enjoy. In addition, you’ll learn the candidate’s opinion regarding their professional skills.

    2. Which of your skills are most applicable to the position you’re applying for?

    The applicant’s description of the relevant skill indicates their level of understanding regarding the demands of the open position. A strong answer to this question suggests they possess critical thinking abilities.

    3. Which moment in your career are you most proud of?

    It’s important to understand what candidates value. Their answer in this case gives insight into how to motivate them if they end up working at your company.

    Behavioral Questions

    4. What past difficult work situation did you have to overcome? How did it work out?

    The best interview questions require a candidate to reveal their past work behavior. This question encourages the applicant to explain whether they responded appropriately to a stressful situation. Or they may admit they handled a situation immaturely and then describe how they would manage a similar difficulty now.

    5. What one detail do you find challenging about working with a team?

    Because so many organizations depend on cohesive teams to complete projects, managers must ask this type of question. Listen closely to the applicant’s answer. You may learn that they like to play the role of team peacekeeper or have abilities to fill another critical function.

    6. What has your biggest challenge been in your current position?

    Everyone has a unique idea of what constitutes a challenge. The details your candidate discusses will give you clarity about what they believe is important in the workplace.

    Critical Thinking Questions

    7. Describe a situation when time or budget constraints prevented you from doing your best work. How did you handle the restrictions and what was the outcome?

    Lacking the resources to complete a project can cause some employees to freeze. Other employees will badmouth the organization. As the applicant answers this interview question, listen for an answer that indicates a willingness to think creatively in these situations.

    8. The last time you saw a problem at work, how did you attempt to correct it?

    If the candidate lists the steps that they took to address a problem, they are showing initiative, an important work quality. If they admit that they didn’t do anything about the problem, the candidate may have trouble with forward-​thinking tasks.

    Unusual Interview Questions

    9. Do you need to hire a team member who must possess their ability to think on their feet? If so, Simplilearn analysts suggest that you use a non-​job-​related question. “What literary character from a famous novel would like to be and why?”

    Job issues, in some cases, seemingly come out of the least expected places. Candidates who can manage their composure and think clearly, especially in emergency situations, are invaluable.

    10. Which recent tech development will likely have the biggest impact on our industry in the next year?

    Asking this style of question digs into how well a candidate prepared and possibly how much they want the job they are interviewing for.

    Hiring managers should take plenty of time to consider the questions to ask in an interview. Every employee participating in the process will likely have their favorite go-​to topics. They should feel free to touch on those topics.

    But to achieve a high quality hiring outcome, engage the candidate in plenty of conversation. And listen closely to the answers given to your job interview questions.

    Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.