Revealing questions to ask candidates at interview

27/02/2018 @ 16:00:00

This blog is really written with interviewers in mind, but I'm including it here as it might give you an insight as to what employers are really looking for when they ask those very tough 'behavioural' questions...

How can you decide whether a candidate will fit into your organisation if by law, you’re not allowed to ask any personal questions? A popular solution is to ask ‘behavioural’ questions instead. With these, candidates are obliged to give a fairly detailed description of a challenging situation they faced in the past and how they handled it. This gives you the opportunity to sit back, listen and learn all about the person sitting in front of you. Here are some examples:

Tell me about a time when you worked in a team
Your candidate’s ‘story’ should reveal how well they cooperate, motivate and support others. You should also get a clearer idea of their leadership skills, ability to influence others, and empathy.

Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement at work
This question should reveal your candidate’s problem-solving ability, empathy and patience. Do they listen to, or steamroller anyone who disagrees with them. Are they confrontational? And when dealing with conflict, do they act professionally and follow protocol? 

Tell me about your biggest failure 
Everyone makes mistakes but it might be disastrous for your company if the person responsible keeps it under wraps. This is a horrible question to answer but beautifully illuminating for you. Do they accept responsibility or blame others? Can they problem-solve? Did they learn anything from the experience?

Tell me about your greatest success / something that’s not on your CV
This question can reveal your candidate’s personality, interests, dedication, enthusiasm and confidence as well as demonstrating how they face difficult challenges. The subject matter is also very interesting as it will give you a unique insight into their lives and what they consider to be important.

What do you know about us?
Although this isn't a behavioural question it’s well worth asking, possibly at the beginning of the interview. Is the candidate really interested in your company? Do they know anything about your product or service? Serious candidates will have dome their homework, and they'll also have some intelligent questions to ask you.

While interviewing, take notice of your own gut reaction. Do you like this person? Do their ‘stories’ sound genuine? If you do, it's likely that your existing staff (and clients) will do too.
Finally, if you’re unclear about something the candidate says, or you want to know more, simply ask!

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