Three Critical Interview Questions to Identify the Best Candidate

Do you ask any of the following questions in an interview:

• Tell me about yourself.
• What is your greatest strength/weakness?
• Why do you want to work here?

If so, you will almost always get the answer the candidate thinks you want to hear, rather than information that will help you make a decision about whether he or she is a good fit for the position. So what can you do to ensure you get good information? In her book A Manager’s Guide to Hiring the Best Person for Every Job Deanne Rosenberg discusses three question types that will help you get a clear picture of what the candidate really is capable of:

• What if … ? (the candidate is asked to respond to a problem that exists in your organization.)
• What has been your experience with … ? (the candidate is asked to describe specific situations in past work situations.)
• What has been the most challenging situation you faced related to … ? (the candidate is asked to describe the issue and how they resolved it.)

All of these questions force the candidate to answer based on knowledge and experience, not what they think you want to hear. But, to ask these types of questions, you need to know exactly what the position requires in terms of objectives and outcomes, not just skills and tasks. More about that in a future column.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440.

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