7 Overlooked yet Useful Interview Questions

applicant tracking systemIt is imperative for job seekers to be 100 percent prepared for the interview process. No matter what is thrown their way, the candidate should be ready for it.

A CareerBuilder study examined several important lessons for job seekers, many of which were related to interview preparation. For example:

“38 percent of employers reported that job candidates are required to interview with a C-level executive within their organization (CEO, CFO, COO, etc.).”

Just as candidates need to prepare for a job interview, the hiring party must do the same. Do you have an interview plan in place? Are you ready to ask the tough questions? Are you prepared to provide each candidate with a clear overview of the position?

The more people you interview through your applicant tracking system, the more difficult it becomes to make a final decision. You have to decide which person is best for the job, based largely on their resume and interview.

To improve your chance of success, it is a good idea to have a list of interview questions you want to ask. While some of these will be basic, others may be more in depth and often overlooked.

Top Questions for Separating the Pretenders from the Contenders

Some questions are asked, time and time again. These include:

  • Why do you want to work for our company?
  • What do you bring to the table that other candidates may not?
  • How much experience do you have in this field?
  • What are your career goals, and where do you see yourself in the next five years?
  • Can you explain some of the biggest challenges you have faced in the past?

There is nothing wrong with asking these questions. In fact, they can open a window into the mind of each candidate. But don’t stop here. You should dig deeper.

Below are seven overlooked yet useful interview questions:

1. If you only have one choice, would you rather work alone or in a team environment?

This gives you a better idea of how people think. It helps you understand if the person will fit in with your company culture. Is there a right or wrong answer? Well, that all depends on your company and what type of person you are looking to hire.

2. What are your thoughts on technology in the workplace?

The younger generation, such as Millenials, may not have the same answer as older applicants, such as Baby Boomers. When you ask this question, expect to get a variety of answers. In the end, you want to know that the person shares the same views as the company in terms of how technology is to be implemented and used.

3. Can you discuss your favorite supervisor, and what makes this person stand out in your mind?

This question doesn’t sound tricky, but many will stumble. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that some never had a supervisor they enjoyed working for.

With this answer, you can better understand what type of relationship this person enjoys with his or her superiors. If you are hiring a direct report, this is one question you cannot afford to overlook.

4. Did you ever think about leaving your last position before you actually made the decision to do so?

This builds off the basic question of “why did you leave your last position?” You want to know more than why the person left. You want to know if they had been considering it for a long time. Do you really want to hire somebody who thought about jumping ship after one month on the job?

5. How do you deal with stress in the workplace?

It doesn’t matter what position you are hiring for. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in. Nothing changes the fact that employees are faced with stressful situations from time to time.

You want people on your team who understand that stress is part of the working world. Furthermore, you want people who have a system in place for dealing with stress.

In a perfect world, there would be no stress in the workplace. In the real world, this is not the way things work.

6. If you woke up and found 100 email messages in your inbox, how would you decide which ones to read first?

This question can teach you a lot about a candidate. For one, it gives you a clear idea of how they tackle a project that requires organization and the ability to prioritize. There is also the tech side of the question. Some people will be overwhelmed with the thought of having 100 unread messages in their inbox. Others, those who have a strong grasp of technology, won’t flinch. They will know what they are up against, how to deal with it, and what to expect along the way.

7. How do you decide what to do first in the morning?

Does the person keep a to-do list? Do they wait for somebody to give them direction? Do they take the bull by the horns?

If you need to hire a go-getter, the last thing you want is a person who will wait around for a list of what needs to be accomplished. If you want an inside view of the way each candidate approaches the workday, this is a question that can give you plenty of insight.

Final Thoughts on Asking the Right Interview Questions

You only have so much time with each interviewee. For this reason, you need to pare down your interview questions before the first candidate arrives.

You want to ask basic questions. You also want to ask those that make the person think. The seven questions above are extremely useful, albeit overlooked by many companies and hiring managers. So here’s what matters most: you need to ask interview questions that will give you a better all around view of what the person has to offer. Along with this, the questions should help you compare candidates. When you combine these seven questions with those you have used in the past, you will have a comprehensive list that is sure to lead you toward the best candidate for the job.

Additional reads:

  1. What are the pros and cons of group interviews
  2. Competency-based interview questions
  3. Exit interview questions
  4. Unique interview questions
  5. Best recruiter interview questions
  6. Help candidates prepare for an interview
  7. Interview questions for program managers
  8. Rules to follow during phone and video interviews
  9. Overlooked interview questions

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