Ask the Market Experts: What's Your Go To Interview Question?

Business.com / Hiring / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

As the first quarter of 2016 comes to a close, hiring is ramping up. Our thought leaders share their best interview questions inside.

As the first quarter of 2016 comes to a close, businesses all over the country (and world) are beginning to ramp up their hiring efforts. 

The recruitment, interview and onboarding process is a lengthy, expensive and consuming process, because the talent you bring into your company will impact everything. Making good hiring decisions is likely something that most strive to do, but many would agree that it's a challenge. 

As such, we asked our resident thought leaders, the Market Experts, how they best get to know a candidate in an interview. Check out their answers to "what's your go-to job interview question, why do you ask it and what kind of answer are you looking for?" below!

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Finding the Team Player

Jasmine Sandler: My go-to question is "Give me an example of how you have worked on teams. What role did you play? What were your responsibilities? How did you manage difficult team situations? What are some results of a team project?"

I ask this question because it is not a yes or no question. The answer demonstrates that they have experience and experience in working in, leading or supporting a team. Whether it is a 2 person or 10 person team, everyone plays an important role. In my position as a CEO of a Digital Agency and as a Global Digital Marketing Trainer, I am building a team that can support each other. I need to know if there is a team fit and if so where.

Debra Carpenter: My interview question is "what role do you tend to move into in group or team work, and why?"

Why do I ask it? I'm looking for candidate honesty, above all else. Every role in a team is valuable and vital--the leader, the supporter, the creative, the rule keeper--so we aren't asking this question to try and weed out one specific team role. Their answer gives us insight into the way they see themselves, and more importantly, the way they want to see themselves.

If someone answers, "I tend to move into the leadership role when I'm doing group work because I'm organized and a natural planner," we expect to see that backed up and evidenced by their demeanor, work accomplishments, attitude, etc. But we aren't only looking for people that say they are leaders. We also want solid supporters, creative brainstormers, careful rule abiders. What we don't want is anyone focused on power play or authority. Asking why helps us weed those candidates out.

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The "Friends" Approach

Stacy Debroff: There’s one question that I always ask in interviews, and it provokes honest, often surprising and very telling answers when you’re trying to get a read on the personality of an applicant. I ask them, “If I had your 3 best friends sitting here with us now, how would they describe you to me?”

It always gets people thinking and spontaneously sharing (usually with a smile) what they think their closest friends would say about them. The answers vary widely, from “They would say I’m…loyal…the organizer…the person they confide in…funny…hard working…quiet..always up for adventure” and so on. This question sure beats, “What can you tell me about yourself?”  and helps you assess how someone would fit into your work culture and the specific position for which you’re hiring.

The Past Sets a Precedence 

Zac Johnson: When looking to hire someone, I always ask to see a list of their previous work or individuals they've worked with. When hiring a site designer, programmer or content creator, such a question would allow me to view their work online and see how well it might relate with our existing tasks and services. It's an important question to ask because if they can't provide you with real examples, they might not be the best person to be working with.

Million Dollar Question

Syed Irfan Ajmal: My favorite question to ask the candidates is: "If you have had a million dollars, what kind of work/hobby would you do and why?"

This question helps me get a feel of the real goals, motives and dreams of the candidates. This in turn helps me know if they would be a good fit for our business.

If the answer I get is specific, ambitious and full of inspirational ideas that are relevant to what we do, I know that this is a good candidate and if everything else checked out, I then proceed to extend a job offer to the candidate.

For instance, while looking for content creators for my website, if the answer I get is, "I am passionate about content marketing and entrepreneurship, so if I become a millionaire I will work on instilling entrepreneurial fervor in as many people as possible through creating and promotion epic content", I would know that this person's future plans are in sync with mine.

Todd Mumford: Skillsets and personality are important criteria to assess when hiring, but for us more importantly drive, determination and passion are most important. Skills can be taught, and culture can help strengthen and bring out the best in personality, but drive and passion are much more difficult to assess and cultivate.

When we are interviewing potential employees, we ask:

“If you had unlimited wealth, and never had to work another day in your life, what would get you out of bed?”

What we want to hear first is that they would get out of bed - that the pursuit of money isn’t their only prerogative. Secondly, ideally we want to hear that they want to invest time into contributing value – making the world around them a better place. Ideally, they want to make the world a better place by solving problems in the digital realm – which would make them a great candidate for our agency.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It

John Meyer: If you had to write a newspaper headline about a career achievement- how would it read? I am looking to see what the candidate values and to see what they emphasize. Are they proud of a team achievement? Was a project that got completed? I am looking to get a sense of what type of contributor they might be to the organization.

Shannon Evans: “What caught your eye about this position, and why did you apply?” I like this questions because it gets the interviewee talking, and you can find out pretty quickly if they took the time to read the job description. A lot of time people looking for jobs can get into a groove and just apply to as many jobs as possible. I want to make sure they took the time to understand the position, and get excited about the opportunity. This question also can help guide the interview if they miss understood something—or get a new conversation started about the position.

ISO: Problem Solvers

Lyndi Catania: My go-to job interview question is “What is one problem you had to face in a previous position and what did you do to solve it?”

When asking this question, I am looking for honesty, as well as what kind of problem solver this person is. The problem could be a minor one with a small fix, or even one that they may have caused unintentionally. Nobody is perfect and there are times when problems arise, but if they’re willing to contribute to solving the problem, it’s a major plus.

Help Me Help You

Jessica Bahr: My go-to interview question is, "What is one thing you're looking to either have or to not have in your next position?"

I think it's an unexpected question that people don't prepare for answering ahead of time, so the responses are more candid. Sometimes people will almost start venting about everything they didn't like about their current position. It's really eye opening.

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