Two Types of Interview Questions That Reveal Valuable Information

October 26, 2016

Trying to find the right person to hire can be a Herculean task. Crafting a detailed job description, deciding where to advertise, sifting through all the resumes, contacting candidates, conducting background checks, checking references – all these things take immense time and effort and that’s before even taking the interview into consideration.

Even with all the hard work that goes into the hiring process, things can and often do go awry. A comprehensive study by Leadership IQ found that almost half of new employees lost or left their jobs or received negative reviews or disciplinary actions within their first 18 months.

The interview process is far from perfect. It is often not long enough to penetrate the best-foot-forward mask interviewees put on. Time is usually a stressor. The focus is too often on checking off a list of technical skills when really, personal skills make the difference.

Hire for Personal Skills

In the study by Leadership IQ, most new hires failed for reasons related to personal skills. The top five reasons new hires failed were:

  • Coachability (26%): The ability to accept and implement feedback.
  • Emotional Intelligence (23%): The ability to understand and manage emotions and accurately assess emotions of others.
  • Motivation (17%): Sufficient drive to achieve full potential and excel in the job.
  • Temperament (15%): Attitude and personality suited to the particular job and work environment.
  • Technical Competence (11%): Functional or technical skills required to do the job.

Ask the Right Questions

The interview process can be designed to reveal the candidate’s personal skills to better determine whether they are a right fit for the position. Questions need to dig deeper into an interviewee’s psyche to assess how they will behave in potentially difficult situations. Answers to these two types of questions reveal more about a candidate’s ability to do a job well than any list of job responsibilities could.

1. Behavioral Questions

Often times, the best indicator of future action is past behavior. Asking questions about the actions the candidate took in the past can reveal a lot about their coachability, temperament and motivation. Potential questions include:

  • Tell me about how you managed a crisis in your organization.
  • Describe a project you were involved in that included team work.
  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake and how you handled it.
  • Tell me about a coworker with whom you didn’t get along and how you handled it.

2. Situational Questions

Questions designed to evaluate how a candidate might perform in situations that might come up on the job can reveal a lot about their emotional intelligence, judgment, temperament and ethics. Tailor the questions to fit the needs of your company. These types of questions include:

  • What would you do if you caught a coworker stealing?
  • What would you do if you could not meet a deadline that you said you could?
  • What would you do if a subordinate was not performing their job well?
  • How would you handle an unhappy customer who complains though you’ve done nothing wrong?

Listening to the answers is as important as asking the right questions. Does the candidate sound confident? Do they take a long time to answer and then waver in their response? Listen to their tone of voice and how they communicate.

Also, listen to your instincts. In Leadership IQ’s study, 82% of managers could see in hindsight that the failed employee revealed clues to potential trouble ahead during the interview. By asking the right questions and listening to the answers and your instincts, you’re well on the way to making the right hiring decision.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

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