Asking interview questions can be one of the most challenging things to do. A job interview is a critical opportunity for employers to get to know potential candidates and determine their suitability for a position. In one of their articles, McKinsey says recruitment is a two-way process. It also allows potential candidates to learn more about the firm. While candidates need to do research and prepare for interview questions, it is also the duty of hiring managers to ask the right questions.
Why ask practical interview questions?
Asking cookie-cutter questions is fine, but asking the right questions will provide you with what you need to know about a potential candidate and give you an insight into their skills, background, and personality. Practical interview questions can help assess a candidate’s alignment with the company’s values and work environment, especially now that some companies still work remotely.
Here are eight interview questions you will want to include as a part of your hiring process.
1. What specific projects or initiatives have you worked on that are relevant to the position?
This question will help you understand a candidate’s experience is vital to assess their suitability for a role.
Look for specific examples highlighting their achievements and demonstrating how their experience meets the position’s requirements.
Here are some alternative example questions you can also ask candidates: “Can you tell me about something you’re proud of” or “Can you tell me more about something you accomplished in your previous job that made an impact.”
2. Can you describe any notable challenges you have faced in your career?
This question allows employers to evaluate candidates’ problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Employers can gauge the candidate’s thought process, creativity, and approach to overcoming obstacles by discussing a specific task or challenge related to the role.
Look for candidates who showcase strategic thinking, adaptability, and a clear understanding of how their skills can contribute to overcoming the challenge.
Alternative questions: “Did you collaborate with others or seek input from colleagues during the process? If so, how”? or “What strategies or problem-solving techniques did you employ to overcome the challenge”?
3. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
By inquiring about strengths and weaknesses, hiring managers understand a candidate’s level of self-awareness. Candidates who clearly understand their strengths demonstrate the ability to reflect on their abilities, recognize their areas of expertise, and articulate them effectively.
This indicates a candidate’s potential to leverage their strengths and work on their weaknesses to contribute positively to the organization.
Alternative questions: “What is something you do better than others?” or “What is the one skill you want to improve? How would you like to go about developing/improving it”?
4. How do you keep updated with the current trends?
Being aware of industry trends showcases a proactive and forward-thinking mindset. Staying updated with current trends allows candidates to bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and valuable insights to the organization. It enhances their ability to adapt to changing environments and contributes to the company’s growth.
Look for candidates eager to learn the new trends because it ensures they are equipped with a curious mind to follow the latest tech to perform effectively in their roles, keeping the organization competitive in a rapidly evolving business landscape.
Alternative questions: “How do you stay informed about the latest trends and developments in your industry”? Or “Are there any specific sources or publications you regularly follow to stay updated”?
5. Are you more productive working independently or in a collaborative team setting?
Asking candidates about their preferred work style will help you assess their compatibility with the organization’s work environment and team dynamics and whether they align with the company’s culture, values, and expectations.
Evaluate whether the candidate thrives in collaborative or independent settings, prefers structured or flexible approaches, and values autonomy or guidance. The goal is to assess the candidate and match them with the team, the organization, and the work environment to foster a productive and harmonious workplace for all.
Alternative questions: “Can you tell me of a time when you worked as a part of a team and what role did you play” Or “Tell me about a time when a job or company felt like a good fit for your personality and why”?.
6. What are your career goals, and how do you see this role helping you achieve them?
Instead of asking the candidate about their five-year plan, a career goal helps assess their commitment, drive, and potential for long-term engagement.
Understanding a candidate’s career goals allows employers to assess their alignment with the organization’s vision and growth opportunities. It also allows employers to tailor development plans and provide growth opportunities. They can create a supportive environment that fosters the candidate’s professional growth while meeting the organization’s objectives.
Alternative questions: “Are there any industries, roles, or responsibilities you are interested in pursuing in the future”? Or “How do you envision this organization contributing to your long-term career growth and development”?
7. How do you maintain your enthusiasm and motivation during challenging tasks?
This will help you determine whether the candidate is passionate, driven, and committed to their work. Candidates who demonstrate self-motivation and a proactive approach to overcoming obstacles can be valuable assets to any organization.
Look for candidates who are self-motivated, inspirational, and have strategies for maintaining productivity and commitment to personal and professional growth.
Alternative questions: “How do you handle setbacks or periods of low motivation in your work”? Or “How do you handle tight deadlines and high-pressure situations”?
8. Why do you believe you would be a good fit?
By asking this question, employers can assess a candidate’s knowledge about the company, their values, and their alignment with its values and goals. It allows employers to identify candidates genuinely interested in the company’s work, products, or services. It shows that the candidate has researched before the interview to get to know the company better.
Look for candidates with enough self-awareness, the ability to connect their skills and experiences to the company’s needs, and their potential to contribute to the firm.
Alternative questions: “What specific aspects of our company’s products, services, or industry excite you the most”? Or “What initially attracted you to our company and made you apply for this position”?
In conclusion, asking the right questions in a job interview is crucial for employers to make informed hiring decisions. Employers create a fair and objective evaluation process by asking these questions and promoting diversity and inclusion. It also helps to identify candidates with the necessary qualities to succeed in the role and contribute to the company’s success. Thoughtful and strategic questioning during job interviews enables employers to make well-informed decisions and build a talented and engaged workforce that drives the organization forward.