There are a million job interview questions you could ask potential new candidates for your team.
One part of interviewing involves asking role-specific questions about skills and experiences. These are obviously useful in selecting the right candidate. However, in addition to these questions, I like to throw in some that are a little bit different.
Here are some of my favourite job interview questions to ask new candidates for my teams. They are all open-ended “general-purpose” questions, so everyone should be able to answer them. Whether the answers suit your requirements is the important factor!
Q1: “Assuming you were selected for this role, what are three things you would do when you started?”
I like this job interview question for a few reasons.
This question allows the candidate to demonstrate how they would work through the uncertainty of a new role. After all, adaptability is an important trait which is in high demand these days.
This question allows your candidate to demonstrate their adaptability in how they would approach their new challenge.
Learn More: Adaptability can be measured using the “AQ”or Adaptability Quotient.
This question also starts to highlight the candidates whose thought process has continued further than just getting the job. Candidates who are very keen have potentially thought more about the role and what is involved, and this question gives them an opportunity to demonstrate it.
Lastly, you will be able to assess the candidate’s understanding of the role. If the response to this question is completely different to what you were expecting, this might mean your candidate has an incorrect understanding of what the role involves (or you didn’t explain it very well!).
The last thing you want is for a team member to start the new job with a big surprise!
Learn More: Got a Bad Employee? They Might Be in the Wrong Role.
Good Answers to Look For
Your candidate probably doesn’t know many details about your team or how the company works. I generally like responses that indicate that a candidate is keen to learn, understand the new environment and work well with the team.
For example, “I’d talk with my new team members to understand how they work and what their challenges are” is a nice response. Or perhaps “I’d make a list of my key stakeholders / customers and start to set up conversations to understand their requirements” is another one.
This question isn’t difficult to answer, but I like it because it is open and candidates tend to show where their focus lies through the responses they give.
Learn More: Hiring People? Here Are 5 Essential Personality Traits to Watch Out For.
Q2: “What sort of team do you like to work in?”
I’m a big believer that when you are going for a job interview, you should be interviewing your new employer, just as much as they should be interviewing you.
Many job hunters go into interviews with a desperate mindset where they just want to get the job. This means they may not consider whether they are a good fit for the role or team.
This job interview question helps to get the candidate thinking about what “good” looks like for their new team.
Good Answers to Look For
I obviously like answers that indicate that the candidate is likely to fit in well with the team. Answers that show they are interested in their new team members and taking time to learn about the team are also positive.
Candidates who don’t seem to have a preference or don’t place much importance on the team are potentially not the best for team dynamics.
Q3: “What do you think are the most important factors to do well in this role?”
This question is a nice one to test the candidate’s understanding of the role. Once again, this question helps the candidate to focus on performing in the role, not just on getting the job.
Responses to this question can show where the candidate’s true focus lies. For example, a response that includes working well with their team members could indicate a good team player.
A candidate who responds with a focus on individual aspects may demonstrate that they are not as concerned about the team, and more on their own performance.
Note: This doesn’t always mean it is a bad response, as some roles do work individually and rely less on the team.
Good Answers to Look For
Every candidate can answer this nice open-ended question. The right answer for you really depends on the characteristics you’re looking for in your candidate.
However, this job interview question can be a good vehicle for your candidate to demonstrate their true focus and whether they know what they are in for. You can use this to see whether they might be the right fit for your team.
It’s Not All About the Answer, But Also How the Candidate Delivers the Message
Try out these job interview questions and see how they work for you. Sometimes the key to good interviewing is not completely about the content of the answers, but also about how the candidate delivers the answer.
For example, everyone can say that they think being a team player is important. But does the candidate seem like they are reading from a script, or speaking naturally?
Does their previous experience in other roles back up their responses to the questions? Or are they trying to say what they think you want to hear?
Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions to further test their responses!
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