In today’s market, finding the right person who will fit your culture and even more so, live up to your expectations, takes time on the front side. Asking probing questions can be very telling. Asking the same questions consistently of all candidates ensures you’re fairly assessing your next great hire and not just hiring someone with whom you had an initial rapport. I’ve found these questions to be very revealing.
What are your career goals? – Have the candidate start with this question first because you’ve directed them without sharing anything yet about your role or company. Sharp and talented people know what they’re looking for and have no problem telling you what they’re looking for.
What are you really good at professionally? – The candidate should be able to share quite a few things as well as be able to hone in on where their passion is and what you need to be paying attention to.
What are you not interested in doing professionally? – Driven individuals know what they don’t want and typically will tell you, even if they know it will keep them from getting the job. Don’t judge too harshly here if they disguise weaknesses with strengths, it’s a slippery slope. Ideally, you’re looking for a strong communicator who can say what they mean tactfully.
Why do you want to work for us and, what do you know about us? – The candidate should have done their homework and be able to reference something that appeals to them about your organization and why. Probe to learn how much they know about your organization.
If I were to contact your last three managers, what would they tell me about your performance and success within their organization? – This question takes some time to ponder. They’ll need to think about it before responding. You’re looking for diplomacy, yet frankness, without them throwing prior managers under the bus. It’s takes skill to answer this question, even when the responses from those managers would be wonderful. Sharing that you’re wonderful without boasting is not easy to do.
What type of manager or style do you find that you work best under (or with)? Again, you’re hoping for honesty and diplomacy so that you truly do make a good hire. You’re also looking for insight into what they envision as an ideal position with the people they’ll be working with. You then need to determine if your role is that role. No matter how good their skills may be, forcing a square peg into a round hole results in a bad fit.