Hiring Wisdom: The Best Interview Question, and 3 More Good Ones

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Many of our readers shared a version of the following as one of their favorite interview questions: “We are interviewing many people for this position. What are you going to bring to our team that others can’t?

One reader added this aside: “It drives me nuts when applicants say they are team players and learn quickly. No one ever says anything like  –“I’m bossy and a slow learner.”

Here’s an excerpt from my reply: “If you ask a question that gives you a canned answer 90 percent of the time, you may need to look at using a different question.

How about:

  • Give me a specific example of how you have excelled as a team player.”
  • What was the last thing you had to learn that was out of your comfort zone and how did you apply that new knowledge?”
  • Suppose we do hire you and it is four months down the road and I have to call you into my office to talk about something you are not doing the way I feel it should be done. What are we going to be talking about?”

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

  • David Hunt, PE

    I wonder if these could be inverted, and how hiring managers would react (just musing):
    * Give me an example of how you excel as a manager.
    * What’s the last project done here that stretched the limits of the group; what was learned from that?
    * Suppose it’s four months from now and I come in to your office to point out a better way to do something in the group; what is that likely to be? How will you, as my boss, perceive this feedback?

  • http://www.gatelyconsulting.com/ Robert Gately

    Hello David,

    Excellent comment.

    Bosses generally don’t want feedback from direct reports and they especially don’t want unsolicited feedback.

    Bob Gately, PE