Wood Words

5 Questions that Break Through a Candidate’s “Interview Persona”

Make no mistake about it. Whether your job candidates call it “putting their best foot forward,” “playing the game,” or “putting on their best face,” interviewees try to hide behind personas they create – and show you only what they want you to know.

Who can blame them, really? They’re trying to land jobs, and they need to do everything possible to present themselves in the best possible light. Google is more than happy to aid them in their efforts. With a simple search, job seekers can find the best answers to hundreds of common interview questions. They then diligently rehearse those answers.

So if you’re still asking “old standbys,” you’re probably getting canned responses that reveal little about your candidates’ true personalities and experiences.

If you want to make better quality hires, then it’s time to break through candidates’ “interview personas.” Here are five of Wood Personnel’s favorite questions that get job seekers thinking on their feet – and get you the vital information you need:

  1. Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career. Use this question as a conversation starter. It encourages your interviewee to skip the platitudes and talk about himself in a non-generic way. As the candidate begins to open up, ask pointed follow-up questions to learn more about his work habits and how he interacts with others.
  2. What things do you not like to do? You may have to probe further to get an honest response to this question, but the additional work is usually worth the effort. Look for red flags that indicate a candidate might dislike a key responsibility of the available position.
  3. Tell me about your career path to this point.  How did you wind up in your most recent position?  This question may seem informational on the surface; however, it will also reveal important details about a candidate’s strengths/weaknesses, career aspirations and voluntary/involuntary career moves.
  4. Tell us the most effective approaches for managing you. This question reveals how well a candidate actually understands the keys to his own success. Additionally, it will help you to learn the communication styles, rewards, amount of supervision and leadership styles that appeal most to your interviewee – and to gauge his potential fit within your existing team.
  5. How would this opportunity help your future career progression or help you build your resume?  This question forces a candidate to think about your opportunity in terms of the long-term career benefits it offers.  It also garners lots of goodwill from a candidate, because it shows that you’re putting his needs ahead of your own.  At the same time, the question helps you gain deeper insight into how a candidate thinks about and manages his career.

Every day, Wood Personnel’s professionally trained recruiters ask questions like these to engage job seekers, prompt discussion and really understand each individual’s experience, talents, motivators and aspirations. We combine sophisticated interview techniques, wide array of assessments, thorough background checks and satisfaction guarantees to ensure the long-term success of your next hire. Contact your Middle Tennessee employment agency for help with your next hire.