As a recruiter, you are front and center with interview outcomes. My experience with boutique, agency, corporate, snail business and contract recruiting gives me a unique overview of different types of interviews.
As a recruiter, we see interview styles or types come and go in and out of fashion. Typically, a change in leadership or a new technology facilitates these changes and not always a thought-out or well-reasoned argument. With new leadership, there is pressure to make an impact and showcase your value. With new technology, it seems reasonable to believe a vendor’s promise of better outcomes using their products.
Perhaps my experiences will explain your experiences and or help you prepare more effectively for the next interview.
This research effort is not scientific. It might be more accurate to call this an exploration or examination of interview questions and their purpose. Regardless of the label, what we review here should provide an insight into the mind of the hiring manager when asking their “the one question.” At a minimum we should be able to identify a pattern we can use to be better prepared for interviews.
Teaching people what the base-behaviors should be and how to prepare is one thing and it deserves its own review. But – what do the top interviews do? What is their approach to cracking the code on their candidates? Is there a one-size fits all interview questions? What is the purpose of this question? What can we learn from such an approach?
Put another way, what do these hiring managers want to know from of the candidate’s answers? Would the answer really be helpful? Would the answer prove or explain the candidate’s skills, abilities, and or performance norms? Instead of guessing or assuming an answer, why not ask these hiring managers? This approach takes the assertion out or the answer. It also eliminates our bias and opinion and replaces it with their context.
Recruiters Are Removed from the Outcome
Whether in house recruiter or outside staff augmentation, recruiters are one (or more levels) removed from the hiring manager’s needs. Recruiters rarely work with the people we find who accept offers and become co-workers at a company.
We rarely interact with the people who land once they start the job either. Unles srecruiters typically do not work alongside new-hires.
But the hiring manager? She would be directly impacted by a new hire in most cases. Why not go to the source then? Why not ask the hiring managers? Why not ask the hiring managers who do the interviews what they expect to discover? Why not ask the top-level professionals? the people sought out by the media? Why not ask what these people want to achieve from their interview questions? We can collect their answers and review them for insights!
Recruiters do a lot research on job criteria, functions, career history, skills and the candidate populations in those job families. There is a lot of white-hat hacking, and sometimes direct begging for information to find qualified people to understand a specific profession or set of skills.
Sixty Four Brilliant Questions To Ask & Why
I purposely removed the introductions and company or product sales pitches. I want the focus to be on the interviewers’ questions and expectations.
- “I’m surprised how many times people talk about the benefit of the job from their point of view, versus the benefit that they’re
- “A candidate’s hobbies and interests are not fodder for small talk. When one job seeker mentioned that he was a keen singer, “I told him to sing for us, a very senior panel of executives,” His assessment: He had the gumption to do it, and he sang very well. To me, it meant he was passionate and able to build skills on his own. And when the crunch time came, he had no hang-ups. We need people with that sort of belief and passion”
- Besides asking questions that reveal who the candidate was in the past, [it can] help reveal who the candidate has the potential to be in the future, when he/she would be working for your company.
- Bosses want managers around who won’t panic when things go wrong and are self-aware enough to recognize if their own actions might be the source of the problem. Vague answers in which candidates only paint themselves as bystanders to failures foisted upon them by outside forces do not build confidence. [The] challenge [is to get] the respondent to be specific, and […] show maturity and introspection.
- By the time I interview someone, several people whose opinion I trust have already signed off on them, so I’m really just trying to get to know the candidate. I try to get a sense of why they do what they do, their background, and what motivates them. At the end of the day, it’s really important to hire people who contribute to the culture in a positive way. [Can] they pass [the] “airplane test”? That is, “Could I sit on a plane from New York to LA with you and not be bored out of my mind?
- It’s really important to hire people who contribute to the culture in a positive way. [Can] they pass [the] “airplane test”? That is, “Could I sit on a plane from New York to LA with you and not be bored out of my mind? [The question] catches people a little off guard so answers aren’t rehearsed; frequently gives you interesting insight into skills/interests/values they might have that don’t otherwise necessarily come to light (teaching swimming vs selling knives door to door versus retail versus food services, etc.).
- [Question] shows whether a person can think on their feet and it helps drill down into what they are most passionate about. “This forces a candidate to think about what they love doing and what they don’t want to do,” [the second question] is “a good way to see a person’s level of self-awareness.
- Doing and what they don’t want to do,” [the second question] is “a good way to see a person’s level of self-awareness. [Focus] on resilience, creativity, and humility in candidates. A person who can speak openly, honestly, and specifically about their personal shortcomings is attractive, but only if they can also explain how they are “a better person, partner, leader, and manager as a result.
- Great way to hear how people think of risks and rewards.
- He finds it a great resource to see how they solve problems and also whether or not this is just another job interview or something they are truly passionate about.
- [Question is to] help job candidates feel comfortable in the interview, “because obviously you get to better see who they really are when they’re comfortable. How they respond also allows you to get a deeper sense of them, and if they might be a good fit with your company’s culture.”
- I learn whether they’ve had any sort of relationship with [our company]. If they’ve never been, have they spent time understanding what we’re about? They’ve either done their homework or they haven’t.
- “I like to watch how they handle themselves in an unstructured environment; “I give them the wine list.” The person has to convince the group that they know a lot about wine, or pretend that they do, or just pick the most expensive bottle, or ask for help. How they choose and how successful they are in explaining themselves is one part of the test. Also: “You watch how they treat the waiter,” Another test comes at the end: “We always surprise them by asking, ‘Tell me a joke.’” This reveals whether someone has a sense of humor, of course, but also whether they can think on their feet in a strange and unfamiliar situation.”
- [Ultimately] it gives insight into which the person really is. “If someone hates making cold calls, but loves data analysis, it’s important for you to determine that distinction because each requires totally different skill sets.
- I try to understand the person’s motivations and interest. I also try to understand where they want to take their career and how [company name] fits within that path. Lastly, I’m looking to gauge their intellectual curiosity.
- I want to determine if the candidate had a strategic understanding of the business. Surprisingly few candidates can answer this question. I am especially impressed by candidates who have a grasp of existing competitors, potential competitors and what a disruptive, new market entrant could do.
- If someone enjoys doing a specific job or task, they will probably end up being good at it — or at least passionate about it, Brown adds.; “And I think it’s so important to harness people’s strengths.
- If they ask me what I mean, the interview is over.”
- I’m curious to see how people deal with ambiguity and whether they can have fun while thinking on their feet; Green says she only wants to hire someone who is “innately driven” — “someone who has that force of spirit that powers them through any obstacle that comes their way.; be prepared to challenge the premise of the question
- In answering these questions, you can see what motivates the candidate, to what standard he bases all his other actions on, and what kind of person he is.
- “In truth, there are no wrong answers, but people who practice and read how to give the perfect interview are always flabbergasted.
- I want to know how they sound when they are passionate about something, and make sure they love the internet. You can teach the rest.”
- Insight into a person’s character and willingness to continue learning.
- It speaks to the alignment of goals, resource allocation and priorities and ability to tie different moving parts i.e. people .. that are hard to measure and which make or break the company.
- It tests: the candidate’s: ability to prepare; passions; ability to teach; ability to present ideas. It does not: penalize people who are bad at thinking on their feet; have a right answer; bore you if you ask it too often.; t’s usually a “fun” question for the candidate to answer, or if they don’t find this kind of question fun, I probably don’t want to hire them. (Unlike “what’s your biggest weakness?” or “here’s this brain teaser I know the answer to but you don’t; struggle in front of me”) Finally, and importantly, it’s un-“game-able” meaning that it does not favor candidates who have practiced interviewing, read threads like this one, etc.
- It’s not ‘if’ but ‘when.’ You get surprisingly honest answers when people realize you’re going to get a real honest answer from a third party.
- Millennials are leaving their employers twice as fast as those from older generations, making average tenure in a job about three years. With that said, I look for hiring opportunities that could surpass that time period. We invest in the employee’s development to keep them motivated to do great things because it aligns with their long-term career goals– which is a win for the company.
- “Most people find their first few jobs on general postings, online listings, job fairs, etc., so that’s certainly not a red flag.
- But candidates who continue to find each successive job from general postings probably haven’t figured out what they want to do… and where they would like to do it. Generally speaking those people are just looking for a job; often, any job.
- And that probably means they aren’t particularly eager to work for you. Again, they just want a job and yours will do… until something else comes along.
- “Plus, by the time you get to job three, four, or five in your career and you haven’t been pulled into a job by someone you previously worked for, that’s a red flag,”” Younger says. “”That shows you didn’t build relationships, develop trust, and display a level of competence that makes someone go out of their way to bring you into their organization.”
- And that’s why being pulled in to a job is like a great reference; people don’t hire people they really know unless those people are awesome.
- “What did you like about the job before you started?”
- In time, interviewees should describe the reason they took a particular job for reasons more specific than “”great opportunity,”” “”chance to learn about the industry,”” or “”next step in my career.””
- Great employees don’t work hard solely because of lofty titles or huge salaries. They work hard because they appreciate their work environment and enjoy what they do. (Titles and salary are just icing on the personal fulfillment cake.)
- That means they know the kind of environment they will thrive in, and they know the type of work that motivates and challenges them — and not only can they describe it, they actively seek it.
- “Why did you leave?””
- Sometimes people leave for a better opportunity. Sometimes they leave for more money.
- Often, though, people leave because an employer was too demanding. Or because they didn’t get along with their boss. Or they didn’t get along with co-workers.
- When that is the case, don’t be judgmental. Hold on to follow-up questions and stick to the rhythm of the three questions, because that makes it easier for candidates to be more open and candid when discussing subsequent jobs.
- Do that and many candidates will describe issues with management or disagreements with other employees or with taking responsibility — issues they otherwise would not have shared.
- Then, when you’ve worked your way through every job, follow up on patterns that concern you.
- “”The three questions are a quick way to get to get to the heart of a candidate’s sense of teamwork and responsibility,”” Younger says. “”Some people never take ownership and always see problems as someone else’s problem. And some candidates have consistently had problems with their bosses — which means they’ll also surely have issues with you.”””
- No answer is too ambitious, no right answer, but in practice the role they’re interviewing for determines which way the CEO leans. In a collaborative environment, it’s better to be respected than feared; at a business unit that’s struggling, the stick may be more useful than the carrot.
- Not the candidates, but people who would have encountered the candidates on their way to an interview.
- One trait that’s especiallyimportant, Crosby said, is intellectual curiosity, which she defines as a strong ability and willingness to learn new things, demonstration of intellectual curiosity.
- See Inside to the Left
- Sense of how passionate/committed the applicant might be about my industry and the position
- She believes this question tells you what matters most to people and where their passions lie. Done is better than perfect.
- Tests how self-aware someone is, and whether they are open-minded
- The answer gives me a feel for the candidate’s curiosity and desire to continue learning, technical interests apart from work experience and how they value the knowledge and
- Experiences of the broader technical community in building their skills and network.
- The answer tells me a lot about what they perceive as their own weaknesses, career regrets and shortcomings.
- The number they give is usually irrelevant to the actual interview, but the way they go about explaining their answer reveals a lot about their character; One of the main characteristics we look for in all of our candidates is a strong desire and passion to learn. I tell people that we are not hiring them for where they are now, but where we think they could eventually grow to become. We look for potential, and the best indicator of a person’s ability to improve is their passion for learning.
- The WHY is most important. Research has shown that high achievers have role models and you want to find out what personal attributes the job candidate admires and hopefully tries to live up to.
- Then, I ask for the answer. When I’ve been on job interviews, I ask if there is something else they are looking for which they have not seen. The question tends to elicit an honest response and invites an opportunity to address other issues. Sometimes you don’t get asked the questions that you want to be asked. Find a way to understand the unspoken questions, so that you can infuse your responses with information to make the best impression possible.
- “This gives me insight in several things: communication (can they explain the project to me in simple terms), teamwork (how were they working with or reaching to others to achieve the goal), motivation (are they enthusiastic about the most exciting project in their life? if not, then they won’t be enthusiastic about any other project), expertise (if I am familiar with the domain I can judge whether the challenges they describe were actually difficult).”
- This question helps understand the size of the team and true processes they used.
- (There are no wrong answers for this question)This reveals how they view themselves and what is important to them. Their answer can be used as a guide for the rest ofthe conversation, jumping off from various things they say
- Usually the last answer or two shows what the person really wants out of life and tells me what they care about the most. It helps me understand what motivates them.
- We only hire people with a clear enthusiasm for what we do, because those are the only kinds of employees who will help you innovate and who can grow with your company.
- You can tell a lot — how fast they think on their feet, how much they actually know about our business, how full of it they are? All good things to know. Plus, I want someone to work for me that actually want to work for me, not just wants a job.
- You will be surprised at the outcome – no two people answer alike. This question has worked wonders for me to bring out some key incidents, experiences and the overall philosophy. At [company name], we are keen on hiring team players and attitude comes before aptitude and this has helped shape the conversation to make that determination.
Think of it this way: “The interviewer has a goal,” This is my attempt to quantifying what these interviewers expected to learn, using the content from their questions. Again, not perfect, but we can begin to measure their objectives by breaking down their questions into discrete or specific ideas or topics.
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