The standard interview questions; what are your strengths? weaknesses? etc. usually have candidates reeling off their practiced or researched answers like robots.
Your standard (boring) interview questions are not going to help you determine the best person for the role or the best personality fit for your company.
However, a well formatted and structured interview can be a fantastic way to get to know someone a little better and make an informed decision about whether that person is the right person for your business.
Key tips to nail your job interviews:
- Know your hiring process before interviewing i.e. if it’s two-stage interview plus an assessment morning, get this nailed and agreed with all other parties ahead of the first interviews
- Structure your interview questions
- Ask the same questions in the same order for each candidate
- Have time towards the end of your interview for digressing and exploring other aspects of your candidate
- If there are two or more of your interviewing, agree who is going to ask which questions
- Score each candidate’s answer out of 10 as you go along – be sure NOT to share your scores with your co-interviewer
- You are not comparing scores for individual questions from each candidate with your co-interviewer
- Rank your candidates by their overall score – and then assess whether you and your co-interview ranked them the same. If not, there’s discussion needed. If so, then you’re on the same page.
- Don’t monopolise the interview – you should be speaking 30% and the candidate speaks the other 70%
- Ask about them first
- In the middle of the interview, once the candidate has warmed up, give them your story and company journey – not a 40-minute presentation but an overview. They’ll be interested in you and your background as well as the company.
- Share with the candidate what this vacancy solves for you, your team and your customers.
Competency-based interview questions are helpful in determining whether a candidate is right for the role.
To really get to know a candidate’s personality, it’s a great idea to also incorporate some different ‘off the wall’ type questions.
Using some slightly abstract questions will allow you to really understand the candidate’s ability to think on their feet, their thought pattern and problem-solving skills. You are, of course, looking for someone that handles this type of situation in an un-flustered, calm and confident way.
Some of the world’s biggest brands such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon are well known for their weird and wacky interview questions that challenge how candidates act under pressure and are also known for their long drawn out hiring process. This results in them learning more about the candidate during the interviews and leads to them making hiring choices that are right for the role in question and for the business.
As an entrepreneur, owner of a small business or one of the co-founders, you simply don’t have time to indulge in endless interviews and long hiring processes.
We know you need to make an informed decision quickly, so we have put together our top 5 interview questions used by some of the big brands to help you get the most out of your interviews in as little time as possible.
1. What do you do on your best day at work? (Facebook)
Use this question to determine the candidate’s areas of strength and to tell you more about what they like to do. A candidate answering this question will tell you what they view as an accomplishment and what’s important to them, in turn, telling you a great deal about their personality.
If they are interviewing for a support role, they could answer this question based on feeling like they have supported their team to achieve their goals.
If they enjoy working to deadlines and work well under pressure, they may say that the best day would be when they meet or exceed their targets.
If the candidate thrives on problem solving, they may say that the best day would be when they’ve been faced with a problem and managed to solve it.
2. How would you contribute to this companies’ mission and values? (Facebook)
This question is a fantastic way of finding out how much research this candidate has done prior to the interview and how interested they are in working with you.
The candidate should be able to share knowledge gained from their research and talk about how they believe they can make a positive contribution towards the success of the company.
It’s important to hire people into your business that are as passionate about your mission and values as you are.
What is the most difficult situation you have ever faced in your life? How did you handle it? (Amazon)
This will tell you what kind of situation the person deems as stressful. The candidate should be able to clearly explain what happened and demonstrate how they then dealt with that situation.
This question will give you valuable insight into the way this person perceives stress and how they handle stressful situations.
How would you test a toaster?
A toaster can be tested by simply trying to toast some bread. A very simple answer using common sense.
This question is used to help you understand a candidate’s way of thinking and whether they use common sense to simplify the answer or make it much more complicated than it needs to be.
How much would you charge to wash all the windows in London? (Google)
Obviously, this is a bit of a curve ball question that could be used to ascertain how a person would approach answering this question.
They are highly unlikely to know the number of windows there are in London, but they should be able to answer logically with a price per window. Their approach to this question will tell you a great deal about the thought process and immediate reaction to a surprising question or situation.
There are no right or wrong answers to these types of questions, what you are looking for in the answers is how quickly a person can think on their feet and approach a potentially difficult question or situation and the way they structure their answers. When faced with a random question, a candidate will usually show more of their personality in their answers allowing you to get to know them better in the small amount of time you have together.