The Perfect Interview Question

How to Tell If A Candidate Is An Ideal Fit For Your Company


Wouldn’t it be great to ask one specific question that uncovers at least four areas of your candidate’s general personality, giving you an idea of their overall behaviors, traits and values?

Well, you can. On your next interview guide the conversation towards personality and ask, “Tell me about a time when a co-worker gave you advice.” This one question will uncover four pieces of vital information about the candidate:

Are they open to criticism or constructive feedback? Listen closely to the response and hear if the candidate was able to grasp the feedback or if they became uncomfortable and got defensive. This could be a sign of inflexibility when future differences occur.

Are they receptive to change? Did the candidate view the suggestion constructively? If they say that they didn’t realize they had that trait, or that they worked on it or changed the behavior afterward, you can have more confidence about their openness to dialogue and their receptiveness to any future concerns.

How independent are they? The candidate’s answer can be interpreted in a number of ways. If they were embarrassed by the advice and wanted to change to fit the role, they may be a follower. If they didn’t agree with the advice, it could signal an independent, free spirit who likes to do things their own way. Or it could mean they are prideful and vain. Listen closely to the rest of the conversation and put the answer into context.

How much do they respect their co-workers? If they took the advice of their co-worker, it could mean a belief in strong ties and the trust that comes from team effort. Asking targeted follow-up questions will enable you to find out even more about the candidate.

For example:

How did the co-worker initially bring up the feedback?

What was the candidate’s initial reaction?

Did they agree with the co-worker?

Looking back, what do they think about conversation?

By asking these questions, you now have a much clearer picture of whether these characteristics complement what you are looking for in a candidate.

Michael Shapiro, Dynamic Management Solutions, Inc.


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