Questions to Ask as an Interviewer

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by ktown, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. ktown

    ktown Senior member

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    My team is having 3 potential candidates cycle through the various team members for 30 min interviews. I am the lowest ranking guy and this is my first time conducting an interview from the other side of the table. Assuming all candidates have already been screened for technical ability, I want to focus more on fit. This person would not be directly reporting to me, but we'd have to work together on a daily basis with me teaching the new guy various technical things.

    What are some good ones? I personally don't like BS/typical questions involving strengths/weaknesses, having the candidate talk about a time they overcame conflict in the workplace, blah blah. Do people have some good suggestions that actually have relevance to daily work? I honestly feel like when I'm put on the spot during an interview to talk about how I approach a difficult problem or whatever, you can't help but just BS a bit and talk about something that may not be all that relevant.

    I also think that the actual content of the questions themselves don't matter as much as just gauging their interest level, their personality, feeling who would be the best fit, etc.

    I work in corporate finance if that makes a difference, but I'm only looking for fit question examples. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.
     


  2. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    I'd have to know more about the job, feedback from previous interviews and the office environment to answer this question. You know more about those things that I do. What questions still need to be asked? Are you doing a serious interview, or have the bosses already made up their minds and you're just a technicality?
     


  3. ktown

    ktown Senior member

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    The bosses have not made a decision. They've conducted phone interviews assessing the ability to learn (not necessarily do right away) financial analysis (discounted cash flow, looking at financial statements, using Excel). Basically my boss cares more about the ability to learn and being trainable rather than knowing how to do things already. So he and another manager both believe these 3 guys have this ability. Each candidate has already passed a computer test assessing numerical skill, logic skills, verbal comprehension, and behavior.

    At this point, the boss wants someone who is not just going to do the job as needed but to be motivated and look for ways to improve things as time progresses. He will be asking questions to find this from candidates. I don't want to ask redundant questions.

    I definitely consider these interviews serious. Even if my opinion is the least important, I want to bring value with my interviews. There are things candidates may feel more comfortable telling the lowest ranking guy vs. the CFO (who they will also be interviewing with). 2 of these 3 candidates were actually discovered by me. I gave my boss 2 resumes with the caveat that I didn't personally know either of them but a friend in my network told me they were interested.

    Anyway I wrote down about 5-6 questions after work. I figure this may be enough in addition to me talking about the company/position, doing a resume walkthrough, and fielding their questions. I have an interview packet from HR that has tons of questions in it. So I suppose if I run out of things to talk about, I will refer to these.
     


  4. Godot

    Godot Senior member

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    Select the characteristics you want the job holder to have. These could be analytical or high energy or good at company politics. Whatever.

    Ask questions that might reveal how the person is in relation to your needs. Example, if your interviewing someone for a given position, you might ask their favorite leisure activities.
    If your looking for a salesperson & they like competitive sports or legal gambling this might be view as a plus (competitive). If your looking for a law clerk and they say some thing like chess, that might be a plus (analytical).
     


  5. mbatting

    mbatting New Member

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    To be at your best you need to work it out. You can ask advice from image professional about this matter.
     


  6. The Rural Juror

    The Rural Juror Senior member

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    I'm not sure if you, as the lowest ranking team member, are in a position to do this, but you might try to coordinate with the other interviewers so that you're not all asking the same questions.

    You said they're already screened on technical matters, so leaving that aside: ask them to talk about particular projects they have worked on. You can leave it up to them by asking an open-ended question or you can pick a particular part of their resume and ask them to describe this. If the work is not project-based then you could ask them to describe a job responsibility.

    If there is a particular part of the job that is either not appealing, could be a deal breaker, or is unusual, you could ask them how they feel about that. You want to make sure they know what the job entails and that they would be a good fit.

    If all else fails, you can ask them questions like how many ping pong balls will hit in a school bus. For the win!
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013


  7. The Rural Juror

    The Rural Juror Senior member

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  8. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    2 ideas

    1. how does your team/boss function? how would that translate into a fit? can you ask around that? for instance, my boss is extremely hands off, I interviewed a peer last year, and I asked several questions about what type of interaction they need with their boss to perform well


    2. I like to ask for details of a person's day/project. oh, I see you have sold in Russia - can you name a specific large PO that you received? ok, now, from the first contact with the customer till getting paid, walk me through the sales cycle in detail. I believe this is how you can tell if they really did what they claim to have
     


  9. Hannerhan

    Hannerhan Senior member

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    A few that I generally ask to determine fit:
    - Tell me about yourself, starting in elementary school. Take 5 minutes and be detailed, taking me to today (I monitor time and see how good they are at being concise and giving real information as opposed to rambling on for 4 minutes about one thing and skipping 10 years, etc). Interrupt several times and ask why they did certain things (why major in x, why go to that school, etc) and see how quickly they are able to recover and get back on topic.
    - If you had to pick just one, are you a details or a big picture person, and why?
    - What are your two biggest weaknesses (looking for whether they give honest or bullshit answers)?
    - What is different about you than every other person interested in this job?
    - Would you rather complete 1 task at 100% or 3 tasks at 80%, and why?
    - What are the last 3 books you have read (then ask more questions to follow up on this)?
    - What is the biggest mistake you have made in the past year?
    - If I hired you tomorrow and your first job was to tell me how many manhole covers were in this city, and I told you that you had unlimited resources but that the job had to be completed in 24 hours, what would you do? (this requires more explanation but it's a creativity question that I stole from an old boss. The key is to shut down their various answers with hypotheticals and see how many ways they can come up with to get them counted, and how frustrated they get when you change the rules of the question.)
     


  10. suited

    suited Senior member

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    In what real world scenario would I be forced to only be a details or big picture person?


    I don't know the other people interested in the job.

    Not really a fan of some of the other questions either. I don't understand why people make this so complicated. In doing so they lose sight of something that should be very simple.
     


  11. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    The second response made me lol
     


  12. Hannerhan

    Hannerhan Senior member

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    If you're hiring a 22 year old for a financial analyst position and they go on and on about how they are a big picture person, that's a red flag. The inverse is true for some other roles.

    If someone just wants to ask lay-up questions and then pick their favorite candidate based on what "feels" like the right choice, that's up to them. But I have always geared questions with a specific goal in mind, so at the end of their answer I have some objective measure by which to compare them to other candidates, in addition to the subjective stuff.
     


  13. subas

    subas New Member

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    every one have an interest in this job so, more number of people are join in this forum work.
     


  14. suited

    suited Senior member

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    I just can't see a person in an interview saying that they are only capable of seeing the big picture. When asked if they are detailed oriented, has anyone answered no? I mean, would a candidate ever pin themselves into a corner and say that they are only one or the other? I just don't see that happening.
     


  15. Hannerhan

    Hannerhan Senior member

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    This is exactly why you phrase the question "if you have to pick one" and see what they say. Of course, if you ask someone if they're good at details and good at seeing the big picture, that's a 100% worthless question because they're always going to say "yes sir, it just so happens that I'm really good at both of those things." You have to push them into a corner a bit to get the subtle details that reveal what they really think.
     


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