Since most job candidates tend to say what they think you want to hear during an interview, it can be challenging to evaluate how they really think. For this reason, world-class interviewers pay just as much attention to the questions they’re asked as to the answers they’re given, because they reveal a lot about the candidate’s level of interest and ability to do the job. Here are 10 interview questions from job candidates that should be music to your ears.
1. Can you describe what my career path will look like? This question demonstrates long-term interest, long view thinking and a serious attitude about professional growth. How could a great candidate not ask this question?
2. What is the turnover rate company-wide and for this and similar positions? Great candidates interview you. They’re not here begging for any old job; they want your firm to be the perfect fit, and questions like this give them insight about your ability to hire, train and retain talent.
3. What are the three or four most important factors that you will consider when evaluating my performance? If the interviewer fumbles the response to this question, candidates are likely to assume that success or failure at your firm is a crapshoot.
4. What are the three or four most important factors that you consider when evaluating the performance of my boss? Savvy candidates want to make sure their marching orders are consistent with their supervisor’s, and that nurturing direct reports is integral to their supervisor’s job.
5. Can you tell me about someone in this position who did a terrific job, and what made it terrific? One purpose behind this question is to identify inconsistencies between what you said would be important to the candidate’s performance (question 3) and what actually made someone a success. Also, this question requires a factual, detailed response; if this cannot be provided, the candidate may infer that success is not easy to achieve, or that you aren’t up to speed on what the job is all about.
6. Would you describe your salary review and performance review processes? For starters, great candidates want to know that you have salary and performance review processes — another indication that the candidate thinks like a professional. Shaky, vague processes equate to a shaky, vague future that great candidates will reject.
7. In what ways does company leadership demonstrate its commitment to employees and to the success of the business? The candidate is interested in personal success and the overall success of the enterprise — excellent! Candidates know they’ve lobbed you a soft ball with this question, and if you don’t hit it out of the park, they’ll know your firm is striking out with employees and strategic planning.
8. What are the biggest challenges or headaches that go with the territory in this position and at this company? Can you speak frankly and critically about your firm, or are you merely a corporate mouthpiece? Your response to this question speaks volumes about your corporate culture, in addition to providing a fair and full understanding about what the candidate would be getting into.
9. What do you see as my greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses as an applicant? Your response tells candidates how well they’ve presented themselves, how well you understand them, and how good a fit the position is shaping up to be.
10. What can I do as a next step in the process/Can I have the job? Great candidates let you know they are here for a job, not to kill time or go through the motions. This question reminds you again that they are serious, and lets you know they are willing to push for results. If that quality is important for success, you’ll want to keep talking to candidates who are professionally aggressive in pursuit of the position.