And the reasons behind them…
The fact is most interviewers decide within 5 minutes of meeting whether the candidate in front of them is worth pursuing. Often, then, the interview process that follows is an elongated charade with no particular purpose. However, along the way many intuitive questions are asked of prospective employees and the shrewd recruiter is armed with posers designed to identify the candidate’s skills and emotions, tricking and cajoling along the way.
Here are my top 20 interview questions which, if asked in one sitting, would certainly identfy a fake from a flyer:
1. What circumstance brings you here today?
One of the best opening questions ever, where candidates reveal problems with their current employer, potential insubordination, and both positive or negative character traits.
2. Which three people (famous or otherwise) would you most like to invite to a dinner party?
Offers insight into the candidate’s personality. Some go for safe options, whilst others may be more risky or exhibit signs of humour or quirkiness.
3. What felt unfair to you in your last job?
A great way of finding out what makes someone tick and what they stand for
4. What’s your favourite animal and why?
Sub-consciously most people consider an animal they believe most accurately personifies them. This is a good question to identify personality traits.
5. What type of work environment do you prefer?
There is little point hiring people who do not fit the company’s culture. This question identifies the candidate’s likely fit, aside from the ability to do the job.
6. My partner and I are planning a holiday, where would you recommend?
This question allows you to speak about a topic outside of the job role, breaking down barriers and exploring the candidate’s ‘non-interview’ personality.
7. What are you most passionate about?
The answer doesn’t really matter but the way they answer does. The best candidates respond very quickly, sit forward slightly and are usually very animated. Never hire anyone without a passion for something.
8. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in your life and how have you overcome it?
The candidate is forced to open up and be honest, whilst allowing the interviewer an opportunity to explore how the candidate handles challenges.
9. Which famous person would you most like to see play you in a film?
The answer to this question will be a great insight into the candidate’s confidence as well as providing a great exploratory topic of conversation.
10. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Studies indicate that people who take risks are generally more successful than those who do not. But too many mavericks in one organisation can be disruptive…Discussion on this can be very revealing.
11. Describe someone outside your field of interest who inspires you and why?
This question identifies motivations and affords personality insights.
12. When I call your old boss what will they say about you?
Other than asserting the point that you will be taking references, this question asks the candidate to think about how they feel they are perceived by their previous (or current) employer, testing their ability to think on the spot and align the answer to the job they are interviewing for.
13. Why are you interested in this job?
Is the candidate interested in your job or any job? Have they researched the company and understood what’s been mentioned throughout the interview?
14. If you could be anyone else who would it be?
Provides the opportunity for further analysis of personality traits and creativity.
15. What are the biggest strengths you would bring to this organisation?
Aligned with question 13, the answer affords the interviewer the chance to gauge the candidate’s perception of how their skills and personality would help drive the company forward, whilst testing their ability to assert themselves.
Helps understand personality traits and motivations.
17. What are the first 5 things you’d do if you got this position?
Tests what the candidate has understood from the interview and how they perceive their skills and personality would add value to the company and role. Confident individuals are likely to look at the company culture as well as the job function itself.
18. If you inherited an acre of land what would you do with it?
19. Why do giraffes have such long necks?
The factual truth behind this question (there’s conjecture over whether it’s for food or fighting advantages) is incidental, as it is a great way to explore the candidate’s creativity – or natural history knowledge!
20. What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
Everyone has an achievement of some kind (if they haven’t, don’t employ them!) so this question identifies motivational traits and passion. It is also a great way to end the interview on a positive note.