Learn More About Your Candidates With These Questions

“Tell us about yourself.” “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “What’s your greatest weakness?”

Everyone recognizes these common interview questions. They’re asked so often they’ve become cliche – and so have many candidates’ answers. Instead of helping you understand the candidate, these questions only tell you whether the candidate can memorize canned answers.

Here are a few alternatives. These questions cover the same ground as the classics, but they encourage candidates to traverse that territory in a new way – one that gives interviewers a chance to see the person behind the preparation.

1.  What job would you never want to do? 

Knowing what a candidate doesn’t enjoy or does poorly is just as important as knowing what they enjoy and do well. When you know where the candidate will struggle, you can assign tasks that are a better fit – resulting in better work results and higher retention.

Listen not only for the type of job or tasks the candidate names, but also for the reasons they don’t want to do the work. For example, an office manager candidate who says they don’t want to work as a receptionist because they want to learn new skills is on track to do well in a position that stretches their talents.

2.  What’s a skill you’d like to learn in this role? 

This question explores two key topics. First, it shows whether the candidate has thought about the role in the context of their own career growth and abilities. Second, it sheds light on the candidate’s understanding of the skills required for the role and the opportunities to learn those skills.

Here, listen for candidates who name relevant skills – or who can provide a sensible explanation of how a skill relates to the role.

3.  What are the top three things your boss could do in the first 90 days to help you succeed in this job?

Questions like these encourage candidates to put themselves in another person’s shoes – an essential skill in any position that requires working with other people. They also provide insight on how your organization can best support this person as a new hire in order to optimize retention.

Reach Out Employment Professionals Canada

At Employment Professionals Canada, our recruiters are dedicated to helping our clients find qualified applicants, so that you can focus on getting to know your top candidates. To learn more, contact us today.