The Best Interview Questions You Never Think to Ask

Tue, Oct 2, 2012


Everybody knows that sitting through a job interview can be tough business. It’s nerve-wracking, and the pressure of trying to get that dream job can sometimes overshadow the interviewing process itself. What nobody considers, however, is how tough it can be to sit at the opposite side of the table. The interviewer doesn’t have it much easier than the interviewee, and the task at hand is equally (if not more difficult). There’s pressure on the interviewer, too. Picking the right candidate for a job is an important task, and unless you’re the owner and/or sole proprietor of your company, you could stand to lose some serious credibility by choosing the wrong person. We’ll talk about some of the most important interview questions you should ask when you’re scoping out your potential hires, and we’ll talk about why you should ask them. Some of these questions are so simple that it might be surprising that they’re not asked more often — but the insights that they’ll potentially give you into your potential new employee can wind up being invaluable.

Get an idea as to exactly what you’ll be getting back from your employee by asking them directly what they want from their next job environment. Ideally, that’s the one that you’re in, and again ideally, your candidate has thought long and hard about what he or she wants to contribute and bring to the next company at which they work. What’s more is that of the most common answers, the one chosen by your candidate will almost definitely reflect the orientation of his or her priorities: the answer given will clue you in as to whether or not you’ve got a true team player or someone who’s more interested in their own advancement on your hands.

Charity and service to others are plenty important to have in terms of life qualities, but when these characteristics are inherently woven into a person’s character fabric, that person tends to make a fantastic worker. Ask your potential new hire when was the last time they did something truly nice for someone, and gather some details. An altruistic person is a lot less likely to gripe or grouse about putting in as much work for the team as possible, and is also the kind of person that everyone loves to work with.

Most of us don’t have time to chase down every reference listed on a job application, but it never hurts to put your interviewee on the spot just a little bit. Ask them directly how their former boss would respond if you called and asked for a recommendation. You’ll be able to gauge how quickly and comfortably your interviewer responds, telling you plenty of useful information about how your candidate self-assesses. When your company has jobs to fill, you need to find the best possible employee to do it — now that you’ve got some great interview questions, that project can be a whole lot easier than it used to be.

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