Interviewers Who Succeed

August 5th, 2010

by Jill Melton

Some interviewers have the skill to ask questions that help an interviewee unfold in front of them. Knowing that you can’t put missing character into a candidate makes skillful interviewers careful and inspires them to “use language with the skill of a surgeon.” In this case, let’s amend my favorite phrase to “using language and silence with the skill of a surgeon.”

Working recently with a student we collaborated on a set of questions (to hire a future manager) that might help the real candidate emerge from the smoke and mirrors of a carefully created facade. Here they are. Use with caution.

  1. What about this job is appealing to you and inspired you to apply?
  2. In your opinion is supervising more like checkers or chess? (If you don’t play these games, what analogy fits for you?) Explain your answer.
  3. If you could improve two things about this company, what would they be? Explain.
  4. Describe the characteristics of a successful manager.
  5. How would you handle difficult employees? Give an example of at least one and the strategy or strategies you might use.
  6. Describe the system you use for keeping track of multiple projects. How do you track your progress to meet deadlines? How do you stay focused?
  7. How will you motivate your staff to produce optimal performance?
  8. What, in your opinion, are the key ingredients to guide and maintain successful business relationships?
  9. What was the best day that you’ve had at work in the past three years? What were you doing and what made that day so memorable? What feedback did you get from others about that day?
  10. Of what personal weakness are you aware that has the potential to give you difficulties on the job? Explain.
  11. What was the worst day that you’ve had at work in the past three years? What were you doing and what made it so memorable? What feedback did you get about that day from others?
  12. What is the best professional praise or recognition that you’ve ever received? (Pause.) What made it so good?
  13. Why should we choose you over other applicants?
  14. What are your strengths?
  15. What in your profession do you have passion for? How do you express that passion in your work?
  16. When you are having a challenging day, how should you be handled?
  17. What keeps you fully engaged on the job?
  18. (Explain the I, C, E and U* to the applicant.) What are two I’s for you, 2 C’s, 2 E’s, and 2 U’s?  (Pause.) Tell me more. (I will explain the I, C, E and U in a future post. If you need the info now, email me through this website.

 N.B.  It’s illegal to use MBTI (Myers Briggs) in hiring.

It’s not illegal to use Strength Finders 2.0 by Tom Rath. (Clear this with your HR department.)

Leave a Reply