If you were a superhero what power would you have? If you were an animal what would you be? How do you cut a cake into 8 equal pieces in 3 slices? Sell me this pen! Are you planning on having children? (Yep, that one still gets asked) Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What is the colour of success?
The above questions are all questions that my colleagues have actually been asked in an interview at some point in their careers and they are not alone.
We’ve all been there. Sat in an interview expecting to be asked intelligent, well thought out questions, designed to delve into our abilities and determine if we are the best suited individual for this particular opportunity. Then all of a sudden you’re faced with a question that seems totally irrelevant or that is quite obviously designed to see how we cope in a stressful environment or determine that we are some kind of undiscovered genius.
I believe that the purpose of an interview is not to trick a candidate or cause them additional stress in an already nerve racking situation, but to determine if that person is capable of doing the role being talked about and doing it well, whether they fit culturally within the business and whether they have the potential to grow.
So why even now do so many interviewers get it so wrong and how can we ensure moving forward that we are asking appropriate questions about real job needs?
The simple reason is that many hiring managers are simply not skilled at interviewing. They could also be unprepared and/or lacking an in depth knowledge of the role they are interviewing for.
By truly understanding what you need and identifying the main challenges of the role you are hiring for, then asking the candidates what they have done that is most comparable (along with complimentary questions around the project example they give) including the challenges, the environment, skills used, learned and applied, their planning process, how they grew and so on, you will start to gain a much more complete and accurate picture of their suitability for your job role and ensure a positive experience for both yourself and the candidate.
Check out our tips for conducting an interview for other handy hints and tips.