The four questions that can make all the difference in a job interview

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Ah, the dreaded interview process.

It is one of the topics I receive many questions when consulting with business owners. The concern among business owners and hiring managers is that in the past, the questions they asked during the interview process gave no real idea of ​​who the potential employee really was. As a result, hiring decisions were made that unfortunately ended up disappointing both the employer and the employee.

They are often asked if there is a carefully designed set of questions or code scripts that will guide business owners and managers through the process in a foolproof manner to produce more fruitful results. Although there are no guarantees when it comes to interviews, I have nonetheless compiled a list of questions that focus on eliciting answers that will allow interviewers to better gauge the personality of the employee.

Personality questions are helpful when trying to determine a candidate’s fit with your team, your company culture, and how easy it is to manage. I like to spread these questions along with the other standard questions that you ask for each position.

Question # 1 Tell me about a time when your manager was not satisfied with your work – how did you handle the comments, and what did you do differently in the future?

As the saying goes, it is not how we make mistakes but how we correct them that defines us. With this question, the candidate is expected to have a story to share. A person who says he has never had a manager who is not satisfied with his work is a liar or is unable to admit when he has done something wrong. These employees can be difficult to manage, they may have a hard time receiving constructive criticism and are generally the kind that causes drama.

The most promising candidate will be the one who can explain the details of the problem and can set a clear pathway going forward to demonstrate that they understand the comments and learn from the error. Responses in which the candidate talks poorly about the manager or organization are red flags. Provided you like the candidate’s answer, a good follow-up question to him might be the question about the management style to which the candidate responds best and compare that answer to that of the manager you are hiring for.

Question # 2 Give me an example of a time I had a struggle while working in a team. How do you deal with that?

In the same way that candidates talk badly about their former managers / employers is a red flag, so do they speak badly of past co-workers. This response should be a response as the employee can clearly explain the conflict and the role he played in it. A person who cannot understand that conflict is a two-way street will constantly play the victim and potentially create a toxic work environment for anyone who might disagree with. You want to ensure that the candidate’s way of handling conflict is constructive and complies with your internal conflict resolution policy.

Question # 3 Give me an example of a time you had to explain something somewhat complicated to a frustrated client. How did you handle this delicate situation?

Communication is one of the most important interpersonal skills and not everyone communicates in the same or effectively the same way. This question will allow you to better understand the candidate’s communication style and whether or not he matches the team style. Watch out for the red flags: disrespectful pointing to a client or an inability to empathize with others’ frustrations. Regardless of whether or not the candidate will work with clients, they will still interact with other members of your team, and internal customer service is just as important as external.

Question # 4 If you had any superpower what would it be?

This is one of my absolute favorite questions in an interview. It’s so unexpected and random that it will take a candidate out of interview mode and give you glimpses of his true personality. This question also allows you to see the candidate’s innovation, creativity, and quick thinking skills.

Ultimately, you are looking for candidates who can answer these questions with little or no red flags and who better match your company culture. Those candidates who tend to play the victim or are unable to acknowledge how their actions affected a negative situation are more likely to feel they have been wronged, resulting in exaggerated / false claims and / or lawsuits. Turn away from irrational individuals.

Do you have questions about the interview process? What questions can and cannot legally ask help formulate more questions specific to your business? Help is just a click of the mouse. Visiting And participate in consulting human resources. For only $ 99, you can consult with an HR advisor about your employee concerns.

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Vanessa Loewinger

Author: Vanessa Loewinger

Vanessa is an innovative, experienced and self-motivated HR expert who is adept at creating and nurturing an employee-oriented culture of professional excellence, focused on achieving goals, and using a process-oriented approach to obtain win-win results. Vanesa has more than ten years of progressively responsible HR experience, including employee relations, payroll entry / processing, benefits administration, human resource information systems (HRIS), policies, 401k administration, and workers compensation administration.

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