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Beyond the bland: 11 questions to identify ‘must hires’

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in Career Management,Employment Law,Hiring,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews,Workplace Communication

The interview remains a hiring manager’s most effective tool for evaluating job candidates. Unfortunately, managers too often rely on a list of standard interview questions for which most applicants have canned responses.

The message: Ask generic questions and you’ll get generic answers. Instead, try these queries, each designed to get applicants to really tell you about themselves and their skills.

Career initiative

1. “Walk me through your progression with your current employer, leading me up to what you now do daily.”

2. “Why would this be a good move in progression for you from a career development standpoint?” (i.e., “What are you adding to your résumé?”)

Technical skills

3. “On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being a perfect match for this job), how would you grade yourself from a technical standpoint? What would make you a 10?” (This second question identifies the gap in their current skills.)

4. “Where would you need the most support, structure or direction in your first 90 to 180 days?” (Ask this instead of the standard “What’s your greatest weakness?” question.)


5. “What makes you stand out as a rarity among your peers?” (This tells you how much self-confidence they have.)

6. “What have you done in your present/last position to increase your organization’s top-line revenues, to reduce expenses or to save time?”

7. “Why is your current organization a better place for you having worked there?”

8. “Tell me about your reputation at work: What are you known for?”

Pressure-cooker questions

9. “Tell me about your last performance appraisal: In which area were you most disappointed?”

10. “From an interpersonal standpoint, where do you disagree with your boss most often? What kind of constructive feedback would you give him if he were here right now?”

11. “What do you know about our organization?”

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