Interview questions need to be perfected. They give you the first look at the person behind the resume. According to the Society of Human Resources Management, 53% of job applicants fabricate personal information (Tweet This). But how can you get the best idea of who the interviewee is, and whether or not they'll be a good fit for your company? Here are ten of the most important questions you should ask when conducting interviews.
1. What brings you here to this interview?
This question may catch people off guard, and that's not a bad thing. It's an important question that may reveal a few things in the answer -- why did they leave their last job? What are they seeking in this job? Since the question is open-ended, you may get insight into how the job candidate views his current or old boss and coworkers, how well he or she works with others, and what he or she expects out of a new job.
2. Why should our company hire you?
Let the prospective employee tell you what they're bringing to the table (Tweet This). If they act like they're doing you a big favor just by coming to the interview, this throws up a red flag. Conversely, a well-spoken individual should be able to articulate their assets and how they envision using them for the good of the team.
3. What are your short term and long term goals?
Future goals are a common subject during job interviews; questions like these help determine foresight. A ready response indicates someone who has drive, focus, and the ability to plan ahead, while a weak or non-answer may indicate the opposite.
4. What are your weaknesses, and how do you compensate for them?
Everyone has a weakness. When asked this question, the best candidates will be able to honestly give an answer, paired with what they're doing to work on their shortcomings.
5. What would others say your greatest strength is?
A small twist on the usual "What is your greatest strength" question, this question will make the candidate comment on what he or she thinks others notice most about him or her, which is a valuable piece of information for you to have.
6. Describe your best boss and your worst boss.
This question again takes the focus off merely what the candidate thinks of themselves, and will reveal how he or she sees others. A thoughtful candidate may talk about how their strengths and weaknesses were utilized or under-utilized by various bosses, while a red-flag candidate may take the opportunity to complain about past employers (Tweet This).
7. What are your hobbies and passions?
A question like this takes the focus a little off the beaten track of talking strictly business. Getting to know a little bit about what makes the candidate tick and how he or she spends his time -- and even with what kind of enthusiasm he or she answers the question -- can reveal a surprising amount.
8. Do you work better alone or as part of a team?
This question gives the interviewee a chance to talk about how they work with people. Perhaps they'll fudge a bit and say "both", but most people do tend to work better one way or the other. People who work best by themselves are a definite asset to many areas, so someone willing to confidently admit that they work well alone while still being able to function in group settings may be exactly who you're looking for, rather than someone who gives a glib answer about "always being a team player".
9. Describe a past failure that you've learned from.
Everybody's had ups and downs in life. A candidate might describe something that went wrong at a previous job and how he or she recovered and then improved where needed, or the candidate might share a life experience that's made them a stronger person. Whatever they share should give some insight into how well they can handle difficulties.
10. What makes you stand out as a candidate?
Let them describe what they're bringing to the table that other potential employees aren't. This is the candidate's opportunity to "sell" themselves, so take note of what they choose to mention.
By asking questions like these, you should get the best idea of whether or not a candidate is a good fit for your team.