10 simple interview questions to ensure success


Deciding what to ask a candidate at interview can be tricky. We have all heard of companies asking bizarre interview questions of candidates. Meeting candidates each and everyday I hear a lot of stories about weird and wonderful interview questions people have been asked – “What dinosaur would you like to be?”, “If you were an animal which would you be?”, “Draw me as an animal!”, “Dance!”.

These wildly outrageous questions can test a candidate’s creativity and might be fun, but generally aren’t a lot of use to most companies. By using more effective questions that measure a candidate’s motivation, skills and fit with your company, you can ensure you hire the right candidates for your organization.

At BTG Recruitment we have many years experience of interviewing on a daily basis! Here are 10 simple but effective questions from the Director of BTG Nottingham – Matthew Finch;

#1 Tell me about yourself
A brilliant opener. Look for a clear, concise answer that highlights the candidate’s skills and experience as they relate to your opportunity and organisation.

#2 Why do you want this role?
They need to come across as enthusiastic and interested in your opportunity, not that they just need any old job. We also want to hear evidence that they have done some prep beforehand.

#3 What are your key strengths or skills?
We’re looking for examples of skills and experience that match what is needed in the job and in the person spec for the role.

#4 What would you describe as your greatest weakness?
This can be a tough one and can stop some candidates in their tracks. It allows you to see how the interviewee reacts under pressure, while you hopefully hear an honest answer full of self-reflection without revealing a flaw that rules them out. A strong answer is one where the candidates admit a weakness (e.g. time planning) and then describe actions taken to counter it (e.g. I now keep a daily to-do list and plan my work more thoroughly).

#5 What are your career goals?
A key reason that companies lose top talent is that employers don’t ask at the beginning what headroom might be required in the next few years to meet a candidate’s career aspirations and allow them to develop as they would like.

#6 Why did you leave your last job?
A good way to unearth any skeletons. The reasons for leaving need to be professional, understandable and non-critical of their last employer. Look for repeating patterns, this could be a red flag.

#7 What are your proudest achievements?
This gives the candidate the opportunity to shine and impress you with examples of achievements that relate directly to your openings key tasks and assessment criteria.

#8 Tell me about a time when things didn’t go to plan and what you did?
We will all encounter problems, nothing can run smoothly all of the time. We all want people in the team who can respond to problems and find and implement solutions.

#9 What do you know about us?
If a candidate can’t tell you about your organisation, they haven’t done their research! This is a sure sign they are not fully engaged in the process or disorganized – or perhaps both.

#10 What would you like to ask us?
By allowing the candidate to ask some questions, they can demonstrate their enthusiasm, the research they have done, their industry knowledge etc. These exchanges at the end of the interview (when some of formality has dropped away) tend to feel more like a conversation and we can gain some real insights.

It’s a good idea to make a note of these questions when you are planning your interview- not only are they brilliant questions in their own right they can help you structure your interview and act as prompts if your interviewee starts to go a little off-piste!

For a little more advice on recruiting and attracting top talent to your team please call us a call on 0115 960 7000, we are in the office 8.30am – 8pm.

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