The 3 Best Questions to Ask in Job Interviews

As an experienced recruiter, I know that interviewing candidates is all about understanding what they can bring to the table. The questions you ask need to give the candidate the opportunity to differentiate themselves and show off their skills. Bu they also need to allow you to understand their soft skills, and how they will fit into the organisation’s culture. Here are three of the best questions to ask in a job interview: 

What has been your biggest workplace fail?”  

It’s easy for candidates to talk up their skills and show themselves in a good light, but this question shines a light on how they perceive and deal with failure. This gives you an insight into how emotionally intelligent, resilient and self aware they are. In turn, this gives you a deeper understanding on how they learn, how they respond to criticism and how risk averse they are. But more than that, in a situation where you’re trying to impress everyone, it takes real courage to tell a story that frames you in a less than impressive light. 

Ideal Answer: They admit to a total stuff up. Talk about how they fixed it, what they learned from that mistake, and how they ensured it wouldn’t happen again. This tells you that they take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes.  

What kind of people do you find it more difficult to work with, and how do you approach working with them?” 

Candidates usually require guidance about what this question means, so I normally clarify with “you know, high-energy or less-chatty types”. This questions gives the candidate the opportunity to speak about their communication and conflict resolution skills. Do they speak up about something that might be bothering them? Are they willing to compromise? Do they face the problem head on and come up with strategies to work better with certain kinds of people? The person you employee is likely going to have to work with someone they perceive as ‘difficult’ either within the team, or in a client/supplier relationship, so knowing how they handle these problems is crucial before hiring.  

Ideal Answer: They used their conflict resolution skills, followed the policies and procedures of the company, proactively addressed the issue and ultimately took the high road. This means that they are willing to compromise, respond to feedback, and follow policies and procedures.

If you could do any job in the whole world what would it be? Astronaut, superhero, Rockstar…” 

This question speaks to creativity and imagination. Is the candidate able to suspend reality and reimagine themselves? If they can, they will have the ability to disregard data, reimagine products and think outside of the box. All important skills in today’s fast-paced and technology driven world. More than that, it shows that they can have fun, and talk about their passions, which means they’re more likely to form connections within a team. 

Ideal Answer: There is no wrong answer here! But following up this question with “why” gives you the opportunity to learn more about what motivates and drives the candidate, and their passions and interests – so make sure you do.  

The Wrap-Up:

So when you’re interviewing candidates, remember to prepare think about exactly what you need to find out about the candidate for the role. At the end of the day, the best questions to ask in a job interview are the ones that make the most of the short time you have with the candidate. Not all questions have to put candidates on the spot. You can find creative and fun ways to ensure the candidate has the skills you’re looking for AND find out more about their passions, interest and personality. 

Here at Shared and Halved Consulting, we can arm you with the tools and frameworks you need to take the guesswork out of your candidate interview practices. Our professional guidance and bespoke interviewing templates have helped other organisations build their tribe – without paying the hefty ‘recruiter’ fee. Get in touch if you would like some more information on how we can streamline your recruitment process. 

Nathalie Lynton is a superhero business woman and HR guru with over 15 years experience who has one goal: To make passion and meaning a more important part of Australian workplaces. She gives small and medium businesses access to affordable and full integrated support in functional business areas such as HR, planning, IT, accounting and marketing.



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