Most interviews are comprised of a series of relatively standard questions. Sure, you want to know about the candidate’s greatest accomplishments and why they are looking for a new job, but these inquiries only reveal so much. The majority of job seekers are familiar with common interview questions, so they have a chance to rehearse their answers in advance. However, by throwing in a surprise or two, you can learn critical information.

These questions aren’t about stumping the candidates. Instead, they are meant to catch them a bit off guard and provide a mechanism for digging deeper to gain valuable insights. To help you get started, here are a few you can bring up during the next interview you hold.

If You Could Change One Thing About Your Current Manager or Workplace, What Would It Be and Why?

This question has a dual purpose. First, it gives you insight into what about their current position isn’t working for them. You can then compare this to what your business has to offer to determine whether the fit is right. For example, if a person says they would have preferred to have more training opportunities, and your company has a mentorship program, they could be a strong match. However, if they wish their last position offered more autonomy and the job you are filling requires a lot of oversight, they might not be the right candidate for your vacancy.

Second, the prompt may be seen by some interviewees as an invitation to badmouth their current employer. If they take the bait, it could be a red flag that the candidate is difficult to work with or will soon be speaking ill of their new workplace if they get the position.

In One Word, How Would You Describe Yourself?

Often, top candidates are confident in who they are, making this question fairly simple. However, it also provides indications regarding how they define themselves, and their reaction to the question can also give you a wealth of information.

A candidate doesn’t have to answer quickly to handle this question well. Instead, those who take a brief pause to consider what word truly speaks to who they are can be better than those who spit out the first thing that pops into their heads. Those who think are likely performing a quick self-assessment, and that can be a positive sign.

The precise word chosen isn’t always important either unless it speaks directly to a potential issue should they accept the position. If you have concerns about their choice, ask them to elaborate on why they made that selection, so you can get the information you need.

How Long Are You Willing to Fail in This Position Before You Achieve Success?

Most high-quality candidates will admit they are willing to push as long as it takes to succeed, while weaker ones will avoid answering the question directly. Some may even surprise you with a specific amount of time, like six months or one year. If they do, ask them why they selected that time frame to see if there is logic behind their choice before moving on.


Looking for Help With Interviewing?

At PrideStaff, we understand the importance of looking beyond the surface when interviewing candidates and identifying the right people for your open positions. If you are looking for top talent for your vacancies, contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable recruitment specialists and see how our services can help you find the right applicants for the job.

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