Interview Questions You Might Not Use, But Should

Published: August 30, 2013 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Manager's Corner

The interview process is a tough one on both sides. It's nerve-wracking for the candidates, and hard on the interviewer who wants to find the best person for the job.

As an interviewer, you have a certain amount of time to find out enough about a candidate, beyond the resume, to make that determination. But are you asking the right interview questions that will give you the most accurate impressions of your candidates?

Why standard interviews don't work

Many interviews follow a fairly standard template, one that's widely used across the industry that the company is involved in. Unfortunately, there are so many problems with this process that standard interviews are often considered the weakest assessment tools of the hiring process.

One problem is that standard interviews are typically based on historical data and situations from another company. The questions may give you a general idea of the candidates' industry knowledge, but it won't help you determine what kind of job they'll do in the current atmosphere of your particular organization.

In addition, interviews are not a standard situation, and the candidate that's presented to you is often not the same person they would be as an employee. Aside from the nervous factor, which can make an otherwise qualified candidate seem inept, there is the preparation factor. There is plenty of readily available information online to help job seekers prepare for the standard interview--so the answers you hear are practiced and polished ahead of time.

Finally, there is a degree of interviewer bias that's usually subconscious, and therefore difficult to change. When you ask the exact same questions for every interview, you come to expect certain responses that signal a candidate's hire-ability--and you may miss equally appropriate or better responses that don't fit your preconceived expectations.

The advantages of creative interview questions

Creative interview questions are designed to put the candidate on the spot, and deliver authentic information that an interviewer can use to create a truer picture of the interviewee.

These types of questions are usually open-ended, with no predefined "right" answer. By asking questions that can't be answered with yes, no, or other straightforward responses, you give candidates the opportunity to prove themselves competent and resourceful--or not right for the job, depending on their answers.

Additionally, creative interview questions are beneficial for candidates who are bored by the standard interview format, and look forward to the opportunity to prove their worth. By using questions that fall outside the norm, you put yourself in a position to uncover exceptional job candidates.

Example questions you can use

Here are a few ideas for creative questions that will help you interview more accurately, and enjoy more successful placements.

  • Why do you want to work here? This question will not only tell you whether a candidate has done their homework and researched your company before the interview, but also whether they're interested in the job itself--or just a paycheck.
  • What will you bring to our culture? While the candidate's response here will also help you figure out if they're motivated by a paycheck or passion, it can give you insight into their strengths, depending on what their answer focuses on.
  • What is your biggest career failure? A great non-standard question for interviews, this one will demonstrate the candidate's willingness to take responsibility, and ability to learn from mistakes.
  • You've seen the office; what would you change? With this question, you give candidates the opportunity to tell you what they'll bring to your company, and how they'll make a positive impact once they're hired.

Building creative questions into your interview process allows you to maximize the relatively short time you have to form your observations of candidates, and make the best possible hiring decisions for your company.

If you are looking to partner with a staffing agency in Houston, contact Clearpoint today.

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