Job interviews should be more than just your typical, easy, practiced questions like, “Why do you want to work for this company?” or “What are your greatest strengths?” If you really want to hire the right people, your job interviews should be intense.
What Questions Should You Ask in Interviews
Your questions should make your interviewee a little uncomfortable. It should put them on their toes and make them have to think long and hard about the right way to answer. Those should be questions like this:
- What is your biggest fault?
- Tell me about a time you disagreed with a supervisor.
These are the kinds of questions that interviewees have a harder time preparing for, and the ones that are harder to lie about without it being obvious. Don’t just stick to these either. Ask questions you haven’t asked before. Ask questions directly about the experience on their resume. Ask questions that are going to make them have to think quickly.
What About Traditional Interview Questions
It’s okay to ask some traditional interview questions. They wouldn’t be well-known questions if they weren’t good ones! The problem occurs when the interviewer doesn’t move beyond them.
Sticking to a pre-approved, traditional interview script means that the interviewee only says what they think you want to hear. By sticking to a script you end up missing out on asking a lot of the questions you wanted to ask as you started to learn more about the interviewee.
Job Interviews Should be Serious, Personal, and Intense
“In this interview, forget all the fluffy, HR-centric scenario questions. These almost always end in the interviewee saying that they think you want to hear.” – COO Alliance
Staffing your company is too important to avoid hard questions. Avoiding potentially awkward situations just to make the job interview easier can end up coming back to haunt you. Besides, once the person is hired, things are going to get a lot more intense than the interview, so you’d do better off seeing how they deal with it before offering them a contract, right?
In truth, the secret to successful one-on-one interviews is balancing a professional, respectful approach while getting the information you want.
Almost Everybody Lies
One of the most important things to be aware of when interviewing people for a job is that in an interview, almost everybody lies, or at least exaggerates the truth. The key to work beyond that is to listen to your gut and dig deeper when that gut feeling tells you that something is fishy.
If someone claims to have a certain skill but seems a little too boastful about it, ask for evidence. If they boldly say they’re an expert on time management, ask them more questions about it, ask to see their day planner. Don’t worry about making the situation uncomfortable. That’s the only way to uncover the truth.
Use Pauses to Your Advantage
Another useful job interview skill is to use pregnant pauses. After an applicant finishes their answer to a question, stay quiet while you count to ten in your head. Sometimes, during that awkward silence, the applicant will try to fill it by offering more information from the previous answer. To dig deeper, all you need to do is stay silent.
Sure, you can sometimes cut the awkward silence with a knife, but the information you can garner not only from the additional answers you’ll hear but also from how the individual responds to the pause is invaluable.
It’s valuable to find the balance between traditional questions and intense ones in job interviews to get the right information. Sometimes you have to get down, dirty, and intense.
What tough questions do you ask at job interviews? Let us know in the comments below!
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2018 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.