When it comes to building your team, you can’t just go out there and hire anyone. A potential hire has to be the best fit for your company. They have to fit the culture of your business and have what it takes to get work done promptly. So now you have your job ad up online, and the resumes are flooding in. You sort them all and find some possible candidates that may fit the bill.
Now the real test comes – the interview. Not only can it be stressful for the candidate, it can be stressful for the interviewer too. Looking for talented people to work at your company is no easy feat. The key is to fine tune your interview process to better select the top talent. And if you really want to get the best out of an interview, you need to ask the right questions, like these:
Can you describe a time when you tried your best to complete a task, but in the end, things just didn’t work out?
No one is perfect. Luckily, you're not looking for perfection. What you are looking for is someone who can step up to the plate and admit defeat. When someone can speak out about a failure, they give you the ability to work towards a joint resolution that benefits not only the employee but the company as well.
If someone is ultra confident and feels that the are never wrong, then you're going to have issues down the road. They may not be able to handle issues when they arise.
Tell us about a time you were given direction from a manager but knew it was the wrong way to do things. Did you continue with the task or did you speak up about a better way to do things?
This is a critical question because it involves the hierarchy of your company and an authoritative figure responsible for managing the employee. You want to see if the candidate can at least provide feedback to the company when they know of a better solution.
Everyone’s experiences are different, and if you don’t allow your employees to speak up and have their voice heard, then you will never grow as a company.
What is your unique proposition that makes you a better selection than everyone else?
This interview staple goes beyond the usual “why should we hire you?” question. By telling the candidate of the competition for the job, it makes them think deeply about why you should hire them. You want someone who is passionate about working for you.
If they are not passionate to be there, then that will reflect negatively on you and your customers will suffer in the end.
What is your biggest weakness that would hinder your performance in this job if you were chosen?
Everyone can come up with great responses to what their strengths are, but when you ask people about their weaknesses, you're throwing them a curve ball. You want them to show vulnerability. Again, you're not looking for perfection. Things go wrong all the time in business.
What’s more important is that the candidate can handle the situation on their own and advise a supervisor if they need help.
What questions about the job or the company do you have for me today?
Many people ask “do you have any questions for me?” But this is a close ended question. By asking the question this way, you are leaving it open and ripe for a reply.
The goal of any interview question is to get the prospect to open up. The more they talk and the more you listen, the more you will learn about who they are, how they think and whether or not they will be a match for your company culture. Too often candidates come in with super human strength. Everything about what they say and how they say it is perfect. The business world is not a perfect place. You need to ensure that people have what it takes to think for themselves.
A version of this post originally appeared here.