Job interviews can be unsettling for both interviewers and interviewees. Both sides have so much to gain or lose. We’ve all been interviewed once or twice, so we know what that feels like. However, not everyone can conduct and lead a good interview.
For HR professionals, the hiring decision is the most costly one you can make. The whole point of interviewing a candidate is to gain information that will give you more insight into the person’s personality, character, work ethic, and potential. There is no shortage of interview questions, assessments, or job preview strategies available. With so much riding on the decision, which interview question will reveal a superstar candidate?
Well, I don’t know if there is just one.
Beyond the skills, what’s the one thing you really want to know about a candidate? The answer is, “Are they an a**hole?” I don’t mean to shock or offend you, but there is a best-selling book by Robert I. Sutton titled “The A**hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t”. Honestly, it’s a good book. It breaks down the main question that we all want to know when forging a relationship with anyone. We really want to know if this person will be pleasant to work with. Will they do as they are asked, will they get along with others, and will they cooperate?
In an interview you can’t just ask candidates if they are arrogant jerks, so you have to ask other questions to get the information you need.
I actually have three interview questions that I love, and that I believe will get you all the information you need to make the best hiring choice. Here are my three favorite questions: Can you tell me about a time when you made a mistake? Can you tell me about a time when you had to show leadership or initiative? Can you tell me about a time when you faced adversity?
There is no shortage of interview questions one could use, but I think these three give you the best chance of finding the rock star in your midst.
These questions are behavioral and situational, because I believe that if you interview someone, he or she should be already qualified for the job. With that being said, the interview is where you can get the answers to the questions that you really want to know – questions of character, personality, work ethic, behavior, and attitude.
Chris Fields is an HR professional and expert resume writer with more than 13 years of experience as a former practitioner and current HR consultant. He is the curator of two websites: CostofWork.com and ResumeCrusade.com , and contributes HR-focused content to many others, including PerformanceICreate.com and SmartRecruiters.com . He has been listed by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts to Follow on Twitter”, one of the “Top 40 under 40” by the HR Blogger Network, one of the “25 Must-Read HR Blogs in 2013”, and also featured on Oprah.com. He is very active with the Society of Human Resource Management, working closely with conference directors, communication chairs, and social media teams from Illinois, Oklahoma, and Tennessee to develop social strategies to engage attendees and enhance their conference experience. Chris earned his master’s degree in Labor and Human Resources from Ohio State University. In 2005, he moved back to his hometown of Memphis, TN, where he has developed a reputation for helping his clients create HR strategies, and individuals master the tough economic challenges of the South.