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Interviewing New Staff? Don’t Forget These 5 Questions

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When it’s time to fill a vacant position, you want to make sure you choose the best candidate the first time. Part of facilitating that quest is getting to know the applicants in a very short amount of time. Even in-depth interviews can only begin to shed light on everything a potential employee has to offer. So, how do you make those precious minutes count when you’re face-to-face with you next possible employee? By making sure you work these five questions into the conversation.

1. How Would Your Current Manager Describe You as an Employee?

Asking candidates to describe their traits through the eyes of someone else often feels more comfortable than speaking about them on their own. This gives the applicant a chance to speak to some of their qualities without having the nagging concern in the back of their head about whether their confidence has crossed into bragging territory.

Additionally, most candidates will carefully consider their responses when speaking for a manager. First, the interviewee knows that you are going to speak with previous managers when you check references, so they won’t say something unless they are confident it will be supported. Second, it makes them think about how their performance looks to someone external to themselves, which can be a different perspective than most consider.

2. Can You Describe Your Dream Job?

This question leads candidates to discuss what they really value and where they would like to be. In some cases, applicants will describe a position that is further up the managerial chain, giving you insight into their career ambitions in regards to what they are doing today. Others may describe positions that having nothing to do with what they are doing today. While an answer that seems out of left field isn’t inherently a problem, it does indicate where their true passions lie. And whether they have that enthusiasm for the work they do today can separate those who see the position as a job from those who see it as part of their career.

3. Why Did You Choose Your College Major?

When a person chose their major in college, they often only possessed surface level insight regarding what a career in the field would be like. Understanding what attracted them to the field when they were taking their first step on a college campus gives them a chance to describe what originally excited them, and if that feeling still exists for them today.

4. If You Could Change Three Things About Your Current (Last) Job, What Would They Be?

A question like this provides a chance to learn about their ideal work environment and company culture. It also gives them permission to speak toward the less pleasant aspects of the position without seeming as though they are bad mouthing the company.

Every position comes with positives and negatives. Understanding what aspects they considered to be less desirable is important, but you will also learn how the candidate would change things if they could. If they can come up with problems, but offer no solutions, then it could indicate an issue regarding their problem-solving skills or general workplace attitude.

5. If You Had the Opportunity to Change One Career Mistake, What Would You Change and Why?

Unless the candidate has never held a job before, they likely made a mistake at some point that they would have preferred to have avoided. A question like this can help you assess their ability to see their own flaws as well as being able to learn from their own mistakes. The gravity of the mistake matters less than their willingness to speak to one.

If you would like more tips for choosing interview questions or would like assistance finding your next employee, the recruitment professionals at CPS Recruitment® have the knowledge and expertise to get the job done right. Contact us and see what we can do for you and your company.


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