End the Routine! Spice Up Your Interviewing Process!

October 19th, 2010 | Hiring Resources | No Comments »

Nowadays, your typical candidate is bombarded with articles and advice about exactly how to answer typical interview questions. Some candidates may even be caught practicing answers in front of the mirror for hours before a nerve-wracking interview! However, while a prepared candidate is usually a good sign, your routine interview questions might be making it harder to identify the perfect candidate amongst the masses. Here are a few quick tips to spice up your interviews to help you find the perfect match.

First of all, figure out exactly what you want in the perfect candidate. Forget about the nitty gritty technical requirements for a while; a separate technical screening can take care of that aspect.

Think about your company’s culture and what kind of person would fit in best. Do you need someone who’s goal-oriented, self-motivated, and positive? Someone who’s a team player, a mentor and leader, or a problem solver? Once you’ve considered the ideal qualities, it’s much easier to determine the most beneficial interview questions that, unlike typical questions, will uncover specific personality traits and characteristics. The following are just a few spicy examples.

Goal Oriented
Your typical question aimed at this characteristic is, “what are your 3-5 year goals?” Many candidates will have prepared a dynamic answer even if they don’t have fully planned goals. Spice it up with a question like, “What 3 goals have you achieved in the last year?” A truly goal-oriented person will answer pretty quickly, even if their answer is seemingly negative (i.e. they’re still working on their goals and have yet to fully achieve them).

Questions in regard to this quality are usually very direct and blunt; i.e. “what motivates you?” To get a more raw, less rehearsed answer, ask something more specific, like, “what brings you here today?” Here, the motivation will be much more applicable and realistic. If you are looking for something a little more general, ask something like, “what did you find most rewarding in your previous position?”

Positive Attitude
A great question for this that will also help you avoid the all-too-familiar “what are your weaknesses?” is, “how do you work on overcoming your weaknesses?” Answers will identify a candidate’s level of self-awareness and recognition and whether they have the ability to turn a weakness into a positive.

Team Player
Rather than simply asking whether they are capable or if they like working with a team, ask something more pointed, like, “how do you deal with conflict in a team situation?” Since some level of conflict is inevitable in a team environment, this is an ideal question to determine how well your candidate might work with a team.

General Personality
To get a more honest perspective of the interviewee’s personality, a great question is, “what kind of work environment do you prefer?” Typically, people want to work in an environment that reflects their own way of working and their own personality.

Other Beneficial Questions
“What’s the first thing you would do in this position if you were hired?”
“What kind of risks did you take in your last position?”
“What could your previous employer improve for greater success?”
The bottom line is, you should style your questions around the specific character traits you’re looking for in your next employee.

Bizarre & Random Questions
“How many gas stations do you think there are in the US?”
“What animal would you describe yourself as?”
Questions like these can provide insight to the candidate’s thinking process, as well as how quickly and creatively they can think on their feet.

Clare Webster – Marketing Director at Ashley Ellis