The Importance of the Interview

Everyone knows the interview helps determine a candidate’s fit not only with the position, but also with the company’s goals, culture, and climate. We also know that asking the right questions is just as important as receiving the right answers. But what are the “right” questions.

Outside of the preliminary resume-based inquisition, which essentially allows the candidate to elaborate on the information you already know, your interviewing wheelhouse probably includes the following:

  • Why should we hire you?
  • What is your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
  • What did you like least about your last position? Best?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

While there is a reason these questions have sweated out interview after interview, applicants rarely show their true colors in their responses, especially as they tend to answer only in the words they believe employers want to hear.

If you really want to get to know a potential employee, show your company’s personality by getting the candidate to show theirs. Questions like:

  • Name your three favorite movies.
  • What did you eat for breakfast?
  • What was the last nice thing you did for someone?
  • What was the last nice thing someone did for you?
  • Describe what a great day at work would look like.

As the interviewer, you presumably know your company and the open position better than most. Ask questions that approach both from a different angle. For instance:

  • If the position requires the use of logic, ask a trivia question (How many dogs live in the US?).
  • If the question requires creative thinking, ask him or her to explain how to do something (make bread, tie a shoe, destroy the Death Star).
  • If the position involves interfacing with people of every corporate level, ask them how they would greet the characters from a well-known movie. (The Hobbit, Frozen, Goonies).

The idea is not to get a “right” answer; rather, these types of questions not only showcase how a candidate handles stress and curveballs, but also how well their unique gear fits into the overall company engine

Don’t forget, the candidate isn’t the only one getting sized up in the interview.

Just as the candidate is striving to create answers that make him or her stand out, the quality of your questions may determine whether or not an outstanding applicant accepts your offer.

What was the strangest question you have been asked in an interview?

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