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5 Questions Savvy Interviewers Ask

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A lot rides on your decision about which candidate to hire. Mistakes can be costly in terms of time and money spent for training. So it is critical to ask the right questions when interviewing candidates. Your questions should be unexpected and open ended.

Jeff Haden of Inc.com, writing for Huffington Post’s Small Business blog, collected the favorite interview questions from leaders of several companies. Here are five of those questions:

1. Ilya Pozin, founder of Ciplex, asks, “If you got hired, loved everything about this job and were paid the salary you asked for, what kind of offer from another company would you consider?” Pozin likes to ask this question to get a sense of the candidate’s loyalty. In other words, can this person be bought with a better offer?

2. Scott Dorsey, CEO of ExactTarget, inquires, “Tell us about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted—like a promotion you didn’t get or a project that didn’t turn out how you had hoped.” Dorsey says the answers usually fall into three categories: 1) blame 2) self-deprecation or 3) opportunity for growth. Responses reveal the interviewee’s character and whether he or she learns from experience.

3. Randy Garutti, CEO of Shake Shack, asks, “If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?” This question determines whether the interviewee understands the company and has a vision of the role he or she will play.

4. Clara Shih, CEO of Hearsay Social, says her favorite question is, “Who is your role model and why?” This reveals what attributes and behaviors the candidate aspires to.

5. Richard Funess, managing partner of Finn Partners, simply likes to ask, ”What’s your story?” The response tells Funess about the character, imagination and inventiveness of the interviewee.

Art Papas, CEO of Bullhorn, adds, “You may have to ask a question a few times—and in a few different ways—but the answers are always worth the effort.”

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