My Favorite Interview Question

Posted on May 1, 2012 · Posted in Best Practices, Staffing

Anyone who hires employees, consultants, or contract staff knows the standard interview questions by now. I use them myself and quite honestly, they are tried and true. I particularly like asking people to describe their strengths because I like to know how people see themselves.

But there is one question that I find the most revealing of all! And it’s helped me to identify the average from the exceptional candidates.

“Tell me about…”— the Winning Question

I ask candidates “Tell me about the feedback you’ve gotten from people who worked with you on a successful or really challenging project.” It rarely fails and I can see them smiling as they answer.

By using this open-ended question, candidates elaborate on their performance on a high visibility and high-stakes project where they achieved the most and got valuable feedback and recognition. In the process I learn a lot about the candidate,

Try it! You’ll be impressed.

More Open-ended Questions:

How do you measure your success on a project?

Describe the communication techniques you use.

Tell me about your leadership skills.

Describe a challenge on one of your projects.

Describe a situation where you had to make a quick decision.

How do you deal with ambiguity on a project?

Explain your approach when you could not access or get cooperation from a key person or subject matter expert.

How do you deal with stress on a project?