4 Interview Questions That Reveal A Lot

If you’ve ever had to conduct job interviews before, you’ll know how routine they can get – especially after you’ve seen more than ten candidates for the same role. After awhile, the answers tend to sound the same. You nod politely, stifle a yawn, and look at the clock, wondering how quickly you can wrap up this interview and move on to the next one.

What if you could speed up your interviews by cutting to the chase and unearthing the characteristics that tell you whether that candidate is a good culture fit with your company or not? Here are some questions that reveal a lot about the character of the person you are interviewing.

1. What would you do if you have only 5 years to live?The more commonly asked theoretical question is “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?” – which usually leads to a non-committal answer: “Well, if all goes well, in 5 years time I might be doing A, or B, or maybe C.”
This question, however, allows no room for ambiguity. Your candidate only has 5 years to live. The company’s vision is either something they are truly vested in and would want to spend, theoretically, the remainder of their lives working towards – or, this is just a stepping stone for them, something he / she is doing ‘for now’ while waiting to pursue his / her real dreams.

2. What was the most recent mistake you made?
Want to know how driven and capable your candidate is? Ask them this question. People who are constantly taking risks and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone will make mistakes. If they’re not making mistakes, they’re not taking enough risks. If they’re making mistakes but cannot remember them, they’re not learning from their mistakes. A high potential candidate will be able to answer this question in detail and outline the lessons learned from his / her mistake.

3. What could we be doing better, and how?
The kind of person you want on your team is someone who is constantly making things better. Who is always looking for ways to enhance something or solve a problem – and who is not afraid to call attention to things that need to be improved. By asking them right off the bat to critique your company and offer solutions, you get a sense of how well this person will problem-solve and seek excellence whilst on the job.

4. In five minutes, explain to me something that is complicated but that you understand well.
This question gives you a sense of a candidate’s other interests, and how quickly they can think on their feet. The ‘something’ he / she explains could be a hobby, a technical process, or a theory he / she is interested in. This question will tell you how well your candidate articulates complex ideas and explains a complicated subject to someone who does not know much about it. If their answer is overly complicated and filled with jargon, beware – you might find your candidate talking in exactly the same way when it comes to work subjects.

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