16 of the best job interview questions to ask candidates (and what to look for in their answers)

16 of the best job interview questions to ask candidates (and what to look for in their answers)


How lucky are you and why? How often is an elephant heavier than a mouse? How many square feet of pizzas are consumed in the United States each year?

Hiring managers have heard of using these "curved" questions to identify the best candidates. Fortunately, for smart and skilled candidates around the world, studies have shown that the puzzle interview questions made famous by Silicon Valley and Wall Street are as stupid as they seem. (In fact, Google started eliminating the headaches of his interviews several years ago.)

But when you interview people to join your team, you have to be creative. After all, there are so many questions like "What is your biggest weakness?" and "Are you a team player?" reveal who are really your candidates.

 Click here to download our free guide on hiring and training a celebrity team.

To give you some ideas for next time. When meeting a candidate, here are some of the best interview questions to ask and the right answers to each question.

1. "Tell me about once where you set tough goals."

If you're looking for a goal-oriented and results-oriented candidate – like most recruiters – this question will help you determine we'll be able to handle the bold goals that you propose them. Ask additional questions such as: "What did you do to achieve them?" Ask the candidate to explain the process and purpose of the goals they have set for themselves.

A good answer to this question:

A good answer to this interview question shows that they understand what are the difficult goals and that they devote a lot of effort to achieving their goals while maintaining a high level of quality of work. Listen to the answers that describe a noble goal and show why this goal challenged their normal targets. Answers that admit that the candidate has not achieved this goal may also indicate self-awareness and self-confidence despite a lack of success.

2. "Set up our business as if I were buying our product / service."

This is a unique and more complex approach to the generic "What does our company do?" question. This not only requires candidates to complete the research they have conducted to prepare for the interview, but also shows that they can use this research to develop a compelling message that would be useful in a professional situation.

A good answer to this question question:

This will come more naturally to some candidates than others. Most importantly, the correct answers to this interview question allow you to combine a precise definition of your business with what it offers to your primary client, which they need or can not get anywhere else.

or the marketing position might find it easier than someone to interview for a non-client role – and that's fine. You do not necessarily evaluate their delivery. But it will be interesting to see how each candidate thinks and gives his answer.

3. "Tell me about the relationships you have had with the people you worked with, how would you describe the best, the worst?"

Each team is different, so this question helps you determine if the candidate is happy, productive and well liked on your team . Their response will tell you how they interact with others – and what types of interactions they want .

A good answer to this question:

The answers to this question do not necessarily have to focus solely on the professional elements of a relationship with colleagues – they can also be related to the culture of the students. ;business. Perhaps the candidate appreciated the positivity of his colleague or did he think that his attitude diminished his morale. The correct answers are not, however, unilateral. Look for answers that explain how their colleague's work style has flourished (or is in conflict) with theirs – not just what their colleague did that benefited or offended them.

Many candidates are hesitant It will be interesting for you to hear how they approach an issue about their worst labor relations.

4. "What project or task do you consider to be your most important career achievement to date?"

Lou Adler, author of The essential guide to hiring and hiring and ] spent 10 years searching for the best interview question that will reveal whether or not to hire a candidate – and that was it.

A good answer to this question:

Candidates' answers will tell you about their previous success and sense of belonging. An excellent answer will show that they trust their work and their professional choices while being humble enough to show that they care about the success of the company . For example, if a candidate is building a sales or marketing campaign of which he or she is particularly proud, listen to him or her to explain how the business has benefited from it. Did he help the company sign an important customer?

5. "What did you do professionally, what is not an experience you would like to repeat?"

The answer of a candidate to this question will give you an idea of ​​how he considered the work with which he was not very happy.

A good answer to this question:

Michael Redbord, HubSpot's vice president of customer service and support, says that candidate responses generally fall into several categories: 19659045] (for example, padding of envelopes). Be careful that they understand the value of this work for the company or they think they are too good for a job like this.

  • Something really difficult. Why was it hard? Was it because it was poorly planned, poorly executed or something else? Where are they accused of being such an unpleasant experience?
  • Something related to the team. Follow the questions about the team, their role in the team, and so on.
  • Even the category of what they consider an experience they would not want to repeat is interesting, says Redbord. When you talk about extreme experiences that make people emotional, this can be very telling. Keep in mind, however, that the right answers do not have to belong to a single category. What is most important is that they benefit from the experience despite their lack of interest in doing so.

    6. "Is it better to be perfect and late, or well and at the right time?"

    If your candidate answers by "It depends", listen to it – the question of the interview itself is such is a good and bad answer, and they will look for signs indicating that they are going in the right way.

    A good answer to this question:

    For most businesses, the correct answer is "fine and at the hour." It's important to let something end when that's enough. Let's face it, every blog post, email, book, video, etc. may still be modified and improved. At some point, you just have to ship it. Most managers do not want someone who can not meet deadlines because they are paralyzed by perfection.

    Try to stay neutral when they feel their reaction. They may not be able to relate to work that is measured only by quality and timeliness, but it is important that they can express how they prioritize their tasks.

    7. "In five minutes, could you explain me something complicated, but do you know it well?"

    This is a much better intelligence test than a university test. their main professional responsibilities. Candidates who are passionate and knowledgeable about something – and who can pass it on – are more likely to be enthusiastic and influential at work.

    A good answer to this question:

    You have to be work-related – it can be a hobby, a sports team, something technical … anything, really. The right answers will tell you how complex your subject is and that he can articulate this topic with someone who does not know much about it.

    Explanations that use analogies are also a good answer, especially if it's a topic filled with industry jargon. This shows that the candidate can solve problems by making comparisons with things more universally understood.

    8. "What is your definition of hard work?"

    Some organizations evolve at very different rates, and this question is an effective way of knowing if your candidate will be able to keep pace with the team. It also helps you to identify someone who is a "disguised hard worker," that is, someone who might be in a slow or unsuitable organization now, but who is who wants to work in a place where he can really

    A good answer to this question:

    A good answer does not necessarily have to prove the hard work – it should rather reveal if your candidate knows what's needed to do something and solve it. the problems that he was supposed to solve.

    The answers that speak of working hard while working smart are also excellent. Always listen to this – getting the job looking for the best way to do something is often as important as the task itself.

    9. "If I had to interview everyone you worked with, what percentage would not be a fan of you?"

    At work, you can not please everyone all the time. The answer to this question will help you determine if your candidate has enough motivation and conviction in his own work for having already been in conflict with one or more of his colleagues.

    Clearly, you do not want the candidate to be an illegible person However, consider asking further questions to discover why they could have alienated these colleagues: "If I were to question these people, what words would they use most often to describe you? "[19659025] A good answer to this question:

    The follow-up question on the choice of words is more important than the percentage given in the original question. In their responses, you should be encouraged by words like "passionate" and preoccupied with words like "lazy."

    Of course, all negative words are not red flags – while bad words, words like "stubborn" could show a candidate's self-awareness – and his commitment to things his colleagues would rather pass.

    10. "Tell me once where you messed up."

    This is a proven test for self-awareness. (Honestly, well-prepared candidates should see it coming and have a ready answer.) Someone who approves his message and learns something is usually humble and attentive. Candidates who blame others or give a fake "fake" (something like "I've worked too hard and exhausted") are red flags.

    A good answer to this question:

    A good answer to this question will do two things well:

    • Admit a real mistake. Often, candidates will make a mistake with a compliment or excuse to avoid appearing weak. For example, "I was so attached to X that I neglected Y". On the contrary, good answers will simply show that they have miscalculated, simple and clear.
    • Explain what they learned. It's one thing to screw up, but it's another thing to take this mistake as an opportunity to improve. Large companies learn more from failure than from success – candidates who do the same are exactly what you need to progress.

    11. "Who is the smartest person you know personally, why?"

    These questions test what the candidate believes and aspires by causing them to think of a real person they know and define what makes him intelligent.

    A good answer to this question:

    The ideal answers vary, but may include specific examples of people able to think about several steps and to execute. They could also relate to the person's decision-making skills, ability to make connections, desire to learn, or the application of the things that she has learned.

    12. "What would you be happy to do every day for the rest of your career?"

    While it is important to hire for skills, it is also important to hire someone who is likely to be happy in the job for which you're re hiring. A question like this will help to find out what makes each candidate happy at work, which is a great way to find out if they will appreciate their role and stay in the business for a long time.

    A good answer to this question:

    There is no right answer to this question – it's more an opportunity to learn to see what your employees value most in the industry. Nevertheless, a candidate's answer to this question should align with the core responsibilities of the job for which he is applying.

    A sales person who claims to be able to hold kick-off meetings every day, for example, is much better suited than a sales candidate who prefers to create lead-generating campaigns (a task that shows greater interest in the marketing aspect)

    13. "If you had $ 40,000 to start your own business, what would you do?"

    This question is one of the favorite of Emily MacIntyre, Head of HubSpot Marketing Team Development. First, the type of business they choose to talk about can reveal a lot about their interests, values ​​and creativity. Secondly, it will give you insight into their business acumen. By giving them a specific amount (in this case, $ 40,000), they have the opportunity to analyze how they would spend that money.

    A good answer to this question:

    The best answers to this question. The question will become more precise: they will give an overview of the situation and to find out where this money would go, who would they hire first, and so on.

    14. "What's the most important decision you've made in the past year, why was it so important?"

    Here is a great way to understand how a candidate approaches decision making. Did they quickly make that big decision or did they take a lot of time? Have they spent most of their time thinking about it for themselves or discussing it with others? How did they develop a plan?

    A good answer to this question:

    Candidates' answers can be work-related or personal. In addition to revealing their thinking process, as described above, an effective response to this interview question will also show how the candidate was able to prioritize what was most important when each possible option had its own advantages and benefits. disadvantages.

    for example, your candidate had the power to hire, for example, it was perhaps difficult for him to choose between two candidates. A good answer might be that they consider immediate skills in one candidate but long-term potential in the other. Although both people have usable assets, your candidate chose the second person because he offered him the best return on investment.

    15. "What surprised you about this interview process so far?"

    This is a question that no candidate can really prepare for and which will give you an idea of ​​what the candidates are feeling. Plus, you can see how they think on their feet.

    A good answer to this question:

    Looking for details here – something about the office space; the personality of the team;

    The honest answers are good answers and the answers to are even better, because they show that the candidate is confident in the decision makers. . For example, perhaps the candidate was surprised that you asked them a question about their curriculum vitae that they did not pay much attention to

    16. "Do you have questions for me?"

    This is another classic interview question, and like the one above, you see how the candidates think. The answer to this question also reveals what is important for the candidate. Do they question about business culture or compensation? Are they curious about growth potential or learning opportunities?

    A good answer to this question:

    There are no good or bad answers, but the personality and style of communication you can get an idea of ​​these factors with their response.

    Check out some of the real questions asked by HubSpot's marketing director during marketing interviews.

    If you find yourself on the other side of the interview table, you can make your resume even more attractive to potential employers. marketing professional with HubSpot's free marketing certification. Start here.

     Learns To Hire A High Level Marketing Team

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