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Challenging Your Candidates: 5 Top Interview Questions

  • february 23,2015
  • Dave Rigby
  • Making Your Candidate Think!

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Interviews: the element of the recruitment process you rely on most to make your final selection decision.  You'll be able to test a candidate's technical knowledge and competence, as well as getting to know them to an extent. For some candidates, the usual interview questions are a doddle - technically they could be fantastic, and could be well-versed in giving the 'right' response to those competency related questions. 

Have you thought, therefore, that throwing in a few potentially difficult questions, verging on the uncomfortable, might actually help you form a more realistic view of your candidate than those simply related to the technical aspects of the job? Here are a few we believe could help you see beneath the surface:

1. Tell me about a working relationship with either a colleague or client which hasn't been the best, and the action you took to improve things.

This will give your candidate the chance to think on their feet, show how diplomatic they can be, but also demonstrate an understanding of their own behaviour.

2. Can you explain the personal qualities you have which will benefit our company, and why?

Many candidates struggle with a question like this, simply because it can be uncomfortable for them to have to blow their own trumpet. However, once they've listed their qualities, ask them for examples of where they have demonstrated them in the past, to make sure they're not just saying what they think you want to hear.

3. Could you give me an example of an emergency situation you've been involved with at work? 

Answers to this type of question will show how the candidate reacts in a crisis, but also how proactive they can be when having to think on their feet and take steps to resolve an immediate problem.

4. Tell me about what demotivates you at work, and the steps you take to stay motivated.

This question can bring out some negatives about a candidate, but also should allow them to talk about positive action in overcoming demotivating scenarios.

And finally,

5. Tell me about your biggest 2 weaknesses, and how you deal with these in a workplace environment.

It's amazing how many people struggle to answer this question. Everyone has weaknesses and there is nothing wrong with admitting to them.  The positives to look for in the answers to this question are about the constructive steps candidates take to overcome weaknesses, and drive forward their own personal development.

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