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Eight Interview Questions You Must Ask

By: Heidi Sawyer

By Heidi Sawyer

As a crucial part of the hiring process, the interview allows you to hone in on the ideal candidate. But be careful not to be sold on a less than perfect fit. Whereas a resume is often a detailed account of tangible, demonstrable skills; the interview allows you to see if the candidate has the right soft skills for the job and your organization.

For years, we have been using many of the same questions to help us gauge such skills as communication, teamwork, drive, and accountability. The trouble we are running into now is that candidates are now over-rehearsed with canned answers to some of the most common interview questions.

Do you want a canned answer; or do you want to know how this candidate is going to solve your business problems?

Below is a list of my favorite interview questions and the important soft skills that they identify.

Accountability

Accountability is an important skill for any employee to have. Try asking the following questions to assess the candidates' level of personal responsibility.

  1. Describe a past employment situation where you could have changed your approach to deliver better results or increased your professional satisfaction.
  2. How do you hold yourself personally accountable for staying up to date in your professional skills?

Initiative

Innovation is imperative to future business success. What one views as initiative may not align with how your organization operates.

  1. What have you done to improve how work gets completed in your area? How did that impact the organization?
  2. Describe an instance where you took a risk and tried something different to solve a business problem?

Cultural Fit

With businesses trying to do more with less, collaboration and teamwork are often critical for organizational success. To gauge the fit factor try asking:

  1. Have you ever been a member of a successful (or dysfunctional) team? What did that look like? If dysfunctional, what steps did you take to improve the team dynamics?
  2. Describe for me the most professionally satisfying work environment you have been a part of. What was it about that setting that allowed you to thrive?

Expectations

Sometimes what the organization needs and what the candidate needs aren't aligned. If the candidate has certain expectations, wouldn't it be helpful to know that right from the start?

  1. What do you expect for support from the company that hires you?
  2. How do you see this position helping develop your professional skill base?

Try asking a few of these questions the next time you interview a candidate. We would love to hear how it worked out. By using these questions, do you believe it helped you better assess the candidate?


Heidi Sawyer brings a fresh and common sense approach to personal development, along with more than 15 years of experience in sales, marketing and training. Since 2006, she has specialized in working with small businesses and non-profit organizations on their employment advertising campaigns, helping them to reduce costs and make the right hire the first time.