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7 Interview Questions That Get at What Really Matters

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Eliciting meaningful and sincere responses from prospective reports during the interview process can be a lot harder than in looks, especially when you're a new manager and haven't done it before. It can be all too easy for candidates to misrepresent themselves to some extent during the hiring process. Some questions are better than others for keeping it real and getting at what really matters. So, if you're a new manager and hiring for the first time, here's what to ask to get real answers, instead of just fluff.

Eliciting meaningful and sincere responses from prospective reports during the interview process can be a lot harder than in looks, especially when you’re a new manager and haven’t done it before. It can be all too easy for candidates to misrepresent themselves to some extent during the hiring process. Some questions are better than others for keeping it real and getting at what really matters. So, if you’re a new manager and hiring for the first time, here’s what to ask to get real answers, instead of just fluff.

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1. How would your previous co-workers and bosses describe you?

Do You Know What You're Worth?

The classic question asks the interviewee to describe themselves. By shifting the perspective slightly and asking how co-workers or previous bosses might describe them, you’re asking for a different level of specifics. The answer will help shed some light on the candidate’s personal style and how well they get along with a group.

2. How has your education prepared you for your career and for this job?

Rather than broadly discussing educational background, this question asks the interviewee to go a little deeper. The answer will reveal something about their skills and training, and it will also tell you something about how much they value education and preparation generally.

3. Set modesty aside for a second and tell me – what are you most proud of about yourself?

Notice that you aren’t asking about professional accomplishments here necessarily. This is a question that could generate a wide array of responses. Starting by asking them to set modesty aside will help the candidate answer this question honestly, and that tone should continue to be felt as a result as the interview progresses.

4. What would you do differently if you could start your career over again?

The answer to this question should reveal something to you, not just about the candidate’s past, but also about how they make decisions. When a problem arises, you want to know that your new hire will go about trying to fix in a positive and productive way.

5. What do you enjoy about your career?

This is a bit of a twist on the more classic interview question – why do you want this job? This framing should help you understand more about the candidate’s connection to the job and industry and it might also say something about how they’ll work with others. Plus, you’ll be able to determine if there’s true passion there. That’s always important.

6. When you’re having a tough day, what do you do about it?

One of the most toxic qualities an employee can bring to the mix is negativity. Of course, this won’t come out in an interview directly. But, the way this question is answered will tell you something about the candidate’s general capacity to move forward, independently and swiftly, when things get rough.

7. Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that I should have?

Of course, they could just answer by simply saying no, but the alternative is pretty intriguing. This is the kind of question an interviewee should absolutely take advantage of. See if they do.

Tell Us What You Think

What is your favorite question to ask during an interview? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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GailANANTHAKRISHNA Recent comment authors
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ANANTHAKRISHNA
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ANANTHAKRISHNA

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Why did you choose this job?

Gail
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Gail

tell me about the best day you ever had at work. And the worst day,,,

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.