3 questions to maximise your candidate interviews

10 Dec 08:00 by Sarah Hall


A candidate once told me she was asked in a professional job interview what sort of food item best represents her personality? What sort of food item? Seriously!

Luckily, most Hiring Managers will ask for help, if they feel they need it when interviewing for their next team member. I am often asked whether we have standard interview questions and what topics to stay clear of. However, sometimes it’s just the little tweaks that can really help to ensure you are getting the most out of the candidate and choose the right person for the job!

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

The often talked about ‘strengths and weaknesses’ question has come under fire quite a bit from recruiters. I completely agree the terminology needs to be avoided but can be tweaked. An option in your next interview would be to ask the candidate about the quick wins they will have in the role. What are the areas they can immediately help the team with? On the flip side. What areas may they need development in? In most cases with a new employee you would expect some degree of training to be required, whether it’s a software system or learning company processes and procedures. Asking about what they believe are their key capabilities and how they can add value to the team is more constructive then probing on weaknesses.

Where will you be in 5 years time?

It’s important to ask about career progression. Millennials will particularly value this question as they are at the early stages of their career where development is important. Rather then tweaking the wording of this one I think its important to make sure its followed up properly. Rather then firing off your next question, take a moment to explain to the candidate a little bit about your business and what you can offer them over that 5 year period. An interview is just as much for the candidate to assess whether an opportunity is right for them. Millennials want to know how can you help them achieve their goals. It’s a great opportunity to mention the success of other employees and promotions they have taken as well as on the job training or external training programs.

Have you had to deal with a difficult stakeholder before?

This one needs to be tweaked but it’s easy! Behavioural based questions are the way of the future interviewers! Asking for examples that they can give from previous work situations is important. Give me an example of when you have had to work with challenging personalities in the workplace? What approach did you take when dealing with these people? I am all for including as many relevant behavioural based questions as possible into your next interview. They are a great way to assess a candidate’s behavioural competencies that will transfer in to their next position.

There are so many more little tweaks you can make to ensure that you get the most from the candidate and to help distinguish a new addition to your Cadbury Favourites from a Sour Warhead!

Feel free to reach out with your favourite or least favourite interview questions!