5 tough interview questions to ask your next candidate
Raise your hand if you think your interview questions are one of a kind! I know mine never were. Asking them. Hearing them. It didn’t matter. Naturally, I was a bit timid of the interview process, but it wasn’t because I felt the questions would be that difficult to climb. But then I read about other interview questions that looked more like a quick game of Final Jeopardy!, but instead of walking away with cash, you get a 2nd interview…or the job.
So that got me thinking about some of the most difficult questions I’d want to hear or ask down the line–because let’s face it, companies still need to deliver in-depth, tough interviews. Essentially, less of the “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” and more multi-faceted ones.
And that’s where these 5 thought-provoking questions may come in handy one day.
“Do You Feel Lucky?”
Before you ask, I didn’t watch an old Clint Eastwood movie last night. No, this question stems from a dear friend of my father’s, who holds a VP position for a software company and has been tasked with hiring important senior management positions at times. And throughout that interview process, after the multiple phone chats and a couple of face-to-face meetings, he would end with this.
It wasn’t meant to be a trick question at all. It was complex to a candidate only because of it’s simplicity and quick delivery. And if the candidate said “No” they weren’t hired. His sentiment was everyone must feel lucky to be where they are at any point of their career. Hard work has something to do with that, for sure. But good fortune and humility are naturally linked at times.
“What’s Your Biggest Roadblock to Creative Thinking?”
Everyone writes on their resume that they have “superior creative thinking skills.” Or they’re expert “multitaskers.” And I understand why no job candidate would want to say otherwise. You’re promoting yourself and your skills need to be as flashy as possible. Yet, candidates need to be prepared for the curveballs.
And that’s where hiring managers can take their skill assessments to the next level by asking about creative impediments. If a candidate has worked elsewhere in the same field, what has spurned that person’s ability to work around a problem? Was it too many people to report to? Maybe their communication lines were more restrictive than this place? Or maybe they goof and say it was because of deadline complications… which might show a crack in the armor.
Whichever route the answers lead to, this question has two benefits: You’re getting better answers from candidates and you’re also learning of ways your company could help accommodate employees down the line if any of those issues creep into your office as well.
“What’s The Most Useful Function In Excel?”
I saw this on a Telegraph article not too long ago and it still gets me. Because like the question before it, not many hiring managers ask anything really in-depth on someone’s “Computer Skills” section where Proficient in Microsoft Excel or Proficient in Microsoft Office is concerned.
So what would happen if you just outright asked someone what his or her favorite Excel trick was?
Well, candidates might either give a generic response and say converting pivot tables is the most useful trick in their eyes, or maybe they go a bit further and say converting individual cells into graphs or charts is their cup of tea. Or they lock up and stumble through their answer.
“What Would Your Colleagues Say is a Weakness of Yours?”
Most normal job interviews have the typical, “What’s a weakness of yours?” question sprinkled somewhere. Candidates are more or less prepared for that. What they may not be prepared for, however, is asking what someone else might say is a weakness of yours. This causes a potential hire to think a bit deeper.
Sure, previous employees and just references in general would do well to say glowing things about a candidate, but in the event an honest response is given about someone’s flaw, candidates should think back to a certain blemish that isn’t really all that compromising to your work ethic – it’s just that it might be seen as a slight flaw.
And hiring managers know there isn’t a single candidate before or after you that is perfection. But what they do know is they aren’t keen on distrust.
“What Questions Do You Have For Me?”
Some of us out there have inevitably run into this question during the interview process. The part where the interviewer is about to end the meeting, tell you “We’ll get in touch,” shake your hand and call it a day–but drops this bombshell of a question in.
Naturally, some candidates may get caught off guard for a quick second, smile and try to come up with some compliment about the company or the employees they chatted with while waiting for the interview.
Others may freeze, stare at the ground and say, “No, not at the moment.”
This question’s great because it lets you see how quick on the trigger some candidates are. Or whether they’re prepared with genuine answers instead of canned, “escape” responses.
What kinds of interview questions have you run into that seem off-the-cuff, but prove just as powerful for many reasons?
This post was written by Kyle O’Brien. Kyle has covered a multitude of themes on business, including employee behaviors, developing leadership skills, motivational techniques and many others. He’s the Community Manager for an e-learning company, ej4, which specializes in performance improvement tools for businesses and their employees. For more information about ej4, visit their Facebook or Twitter pages.