Experienced and savvy interviewers typically develop a short, but extremely effective, list of interview questions that quickly tell them what they need to know about an applicant’s qualifications. The best type of question focuses on the contributions the prospective employee is likely to make within an organization.  They also help assess an applicant’s work experience as well as his or her problem solving, analytical, and creative thinking skills and abilities.

By asking open-ended questions, the interviewer can begin to understand how the applicant interacts with other people, including coworkers, subordinates, and managers.  Thoughtful interview questions will elicit valuable information about how the applicant will conduct himself or herself in the working environment. The following high impact interview questions can help predict potential job success and cultural fit.

The team of experts at ConnectedHR assist companies across Northeast Ohio recruit, interview and hire new employees from associates to the executive level. During that time, we have drafted a great set of high-impact interview questions for you to use. In this article, we share these questions with you and explain how they can help with your interview process.

These interview questions have a track record of helping to select people who have a high chance of becoming successful employees:

Interview Question:  Tell me about your greatest achievement at work (what you are the most “proud” of?).
Goal: Understanding what the person values and what he or she considers important.

Interview Question:  Describe the work environment in which you will most effectively be able to contribute (your “ideal” working environment?).
Goal: Whether the organization’s work environment is suitable for the candidate’s needs and wants and whether there will be a good cultural/personality fit.

Interview Question:  What kind of oversight and interaction most appeals to you (do you prefer continuous direction or more autonomy and control?).           Goal: Ascertaining how self-directed your candidate is (wanting more direction is a good attribute if your management team tends to control, but if your organization emphasizes empowerment and self-motivated employees, then those who prefer an environment where they have more control over day-to-day duties would be a better fit).

Interview Question:  Have you had to overcome an obstacle that stood in the way of you accomplishing a goal? Explain the situation and how you handled it.
Goal: Obtaining information about the candidate’s past job performance.  You may get an idea about his/her problem-solving style.  You also gain insight into what is considered an obstacle and how such problems/issues are communicated and resolved.

Interview Question:  What prompted you to apply for this position?  Explain how you became interested in our organization.                                                        Goal: Understanding what the candidate is most interested in regarding the position. The answer will tell you what motivates the individual and whether he or she is truly interested in your organization.

Interview Question:  Why are you looking for a new opportunity?
Goal: Discovering the candidate’s values, goals, and needs of an employer. You can determine what prompted the job search to better understand his/her motivations.

Interview Question:  What are the most important attributes or skills you believe you would bring to our company if we hired you?
Goal: Gaining valuable insight into what the candidate believes is his/her most important skill set.  You may also learn about how the candidate views the open position.

Interview Question:  What are the first things you would do on the job if you were hired for this position?
Goal: Understanding what the candidate deems important, his/her understanding of the requirements of the job, and how the candidate approaches a new situation.

Interview Question:  How would your coworkers at your current/former job describe your interaction with them and your general effectiveness in your work performance?  How would they describe you as a person?
Goal: Assessing whether coworkers like working with the candidate.  The answer may give you an idea about the candidate’s effectiveness in communicating, interacting and relating to coworkers.  Past practice often predicts future practices.

Interview Question:  How would your current employer/manager describe your work habits and contribution?
Goal: Understanding how the candidate perceives the support and opinion of his/her current employer/manager.  This question sheds light on the interaction and communication style of the candidate.  You may also obtain valuable information about how the person accepts criticism and feedback.

Interview Question:  How do you believe that your current skills will contribute to the accomplishment of our company’s goals and mission?
Goal: Ensuring that the candidate is serious about applying for the open position; that he/she spent time learning about your company.  Internet access allows candidates to quickly learn about the company to which they are applying.  This question tells you if the candidate was thoughtful about his/her potential “fit” within your company.

Interview Question:  How do you continue to develop your professional skills and industry knowledge?
Goal: Hiring employees who believe in continuous development and improvement.  Does the candidate pursue his/her own professional development or depend on the employer to provide the development opportunities?

These are merely examples of proven interview questions to ask as you recruit and interview prospective employees.  Therefore, all managers should create their own list of “best” interview questions to ask as they participate in more and more interviews.

Once you begin to experience the success or failure of the employees selected for hire, it will be important to revise the list of interview questions accordingly.

To avoid potential legal problems, employers should not ask applicants any questions relating to:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Birthplace
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Marital/family status

If a candidate unprovoked begins to offer up such personal information, redirect them to answer your questions that are related to the job.

Remember to only document objective and job-related information about the applicant.

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