7 Interview Questions You Have to Ask

We all know the classic interview questions. “Where do you want to be in five years?” “Why do you want to work here?”; But useful as these are, they reveal little about a candidate’s fit to your business or workplace culture. These days, it’s as important to assess attitude as aptitude, and to find the right candidate, employers need to go beyond conventional interviewing techniques. It’s a good idea to begin by thinking about the kind of person you want to hire, then plan questions that will help you understand whether the candidate you are interviewing fits the bill.  Sure, some of your questions will be the usual suspects. But they needn’t all be.

Here are 7  go-to interview questions to help you understand if the candidate in front of you is the right fit for your business:

  • “Describe your ideal work environment”

Does your candidate prefer open plan offices, home working, or want to hot desk? Do they value close relationships with colleagues and team bonding activities or a nine to five day after which they can simply head home to their family/friends? Their answers will tell you much about their fit to your current work culture and colleagues.

  • “How would your friends describe you in three words?”

If you are clear on the kind of characters that work best in your company then you can gain a good deal of insight on the suitability of the candidate from their answer to this question. Whilst the question can be a little uncomfortable for the interviewee, there is no right or wrong answer, only an honest one.  Are they loyal, fun, honest, responsible, or the life and soul of the party?

  • “Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and why?”

What you are really asking is ‘who/what inspires you/what are your interests’? Maybe your candidate is impressed by success, or has a deep interest in history? Perhaps they are attracted to glamour and fame? Or are a more thoughtful, literary type? Try and establish why they’d like a conversation with their chosen dinner guests and what they’d ask, then consider what it says about them as a person.  This isn’t an exact science, but will help you see how they might gel with your existing team — even if it doesn’t include Abraham Lincoln and Adele as members!

  • “Give me an example of a time you’ve embraced change outside of work?”

The job market is constantly evolving. While it is important to hire someone who fits the bill, it’s equally important to choose someone adaptable to change. In the modern work environment this could mean anything from embracing new technologies to changing working hours, new offices, or a new corporate strategy. But the candidate’s response doesn’t need to relate to work. It could be their experience of moving to a new country, joining a new sports team, or even deciding on a drastic new hairstyle and how they coped with it! The main thing here is to listen to their view of how they embraced/coped with change.

  • “Tell me about a time you’ve turned a negative into a positive”

This is a slight adaptation of the old favourite: “tell me about a time you’ve overcome adversity”. In many ways it takes a more positive slant and helps establish whether a candidate is able to face potentially difficult situations and make them work in their favour. It also highlights whether the candidate is a glass half full/ half empty person and allows those with a positive attitude to shine through.

  • “Tell me about one of your proudest achievements in life”

This is a useful question to ask on several levels. For one, it is likely to be enjoyable for the candidate to answer. Everyone likes recalling moments of pride and what they tell you will be another indicator of what really matters to them and how this will translate to the work environment. If, for example, they say ‘winning the local league with my football team’, and go on to say it meant more because it bonded them as a group, you can safely deduce that working in a team is important to them.

  • “What would your superpower be?”

Invisibility? Lightning speed? Superhuman strength? Or perhaps your candidate will give a more unexpected answer! This question will test both their ability to think on their feet and their creativity. And who knows, maybe you’ll find originality to be their true superpower!

Interviews needn’t be rigid, uncomfortable processes. The ultimate goal is to find the best person for the job. And yes, that will mean understanding their qualifications and experience, but the conversation shouldn’t begin and end there. Get creative with your questions and your current employees will thank you when you introduce the new hire as someone who fits the workplace dynamic perfectly.

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