Better Interview Questions for Finding the Best Hires

Plenty of hiring managers and executives see interviews as a necessary, if disruptive, part of their job that they need to get through in order to build a better team, fill a void, or accommodate the growth of their company before they get back to whatever they should be doing. Even when you work with an agency to whittle down the candidate list to the best prospects, you still have to take the time to find the right person for the job within that bunch. In fact, you really need to find the absolute best fit you can, otherwise you’ll be back in the interview chair looking for another replacement before you know it.

Beyond feeling like you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of hiring for the same positions over and over again, putting the wrong person in a position is costly for the company – both in time and money. It’s far more prudent and efficient to hire well the first time.

Whether you enjoy the hiring process or not, it makes sense to do whatever you can to improve the interview experience considering how much weight an interview carries in the decision to hire or not to hire and the fact that whether we admit it or not, we tend to make snap judgments that can backfire when we don’t ask questions that require the interviewee to dig a little deeper and reveal a little more about their personality.

Try these questions in your next interview if you want to encourage the applicant to reveal thought dominant patterns and past behavior, which is of course the best prediction of future behavior.

Sample Interview Questions for a Candidate

1. Tell me what you know about our company. Give me your honest analysis.
Qualities to look for in this answer that may indicate a good candidate is a good fit for your company culture include initiative, analytical ability, values, and confidence.

2. Give me an idea of the first 5 things you would do if you got this job and what you might do to accomplish them.
A good candidate will demonstrate strategic thinking, the ability to prioritize, and give you a sense of how they handle important tasks.

3. Name a few things you would need to be successful in this job. Which are non-negotiable?
Answers to this question will give you an idea of how this candidate will fit into the company culture, what they expect from the position and the company overall, and their work style.

4. Tell me about a time that you took a risk and failed, and one where you took a risk and succeeded.
Candidates that will be successful in higher-level positions will demonstrate a secure ability to take calculated risks, show tolerance for taking intelligent chances, honesty in self-evaluation, and larger picture conceptual thinking.

5. What are you most proud of in your work so far?
Answering this question will reveal how the candidate prefers to work (on a team, on their own) as well as what their personal motivations are.
Next, instead of handing the following step off to an assistant, use this insightful information to your advantage by checking it against your candidate’s references. Ask questions like:
  • How would you rate the candidate’s work performance on a scale of 1-10? What would they have to do to be given a better / worse ranking?
  • What types of situations does the candidate excel in? What kinds would they likely stumble?
  • What would you imagine the perfect work environment would look like for the candidate?
  • Was a development plan communicated with the candidate, and how did she respond?
  • Given the chance, would you rehire the candidate? Why or why not?
If you’re looking for the best candidates in banking, technology, and finance, start with RJ Byrd. We’re here to help you find the perfect fit for any open position in your company.
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