Recruiting and Staffing

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

© vladgrin - Fotolia.com

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.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.
  • 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