11 Interview Questions That Will Reveal The Real Truth About Your Candidates [SlideShare]

Ever sit in interviews, asking the same old questions, getting the same old responses and thinking: "gosh, this is a charade?" This SlideShare is for you.

June 20, 2023

Do you ever sit in interviews and think to yourself "this is such a charade?"

Your candidate is over-prepared and on their best behaviour, you are over-prepared and on your best behaviour (hopefully)...

And you both just keep going on about how great you both (and the company) are.

It can all become just a little bit false and over-scripted.

Well, that's where this week's SlideShare comes in...

Slide Transcript

Slide 1.

11 Interview Questions That Will Reveal A Little Bit More About Your Candidates!

Slide 2.

If you think about it, interviews are kind of a complete charade.

Slide 3.


Slide 4.

You’re on your best behaviour, the candidate is on their best behaviour, the entire process is scripted from start to finish…

Slide 5.

So, how can you find out more about your candidate’s true self? (And not just what they want you to think).

Slide 6.

Introducing: “personality interview questions.”

Slightly less predictable, probing questions that really give your candidates a chance to shine…

Slide 7.

  • How well the candidate will really fit in with your team and culture.
  • Whether or not you’ll be able to manage them effectively.
  • What each candidate’s motivators are. Discover…

Slide 8.

Let’s take a look…

Slide 9.

Q1. How would your best friend describe you?

Slide 10.

Translation: What are you really like? How do you see yourself? Am I seeing the real you?

Slide 11.

What are you looking for?

This question is a chance for your candidate to reveal something a little bit more personal about themselves.

  • Perhaps they’re a great listener?
  • The “life and soul of the party?”
  • The organiser of their group of friends?

Hopefully the answer they give will match the impression you already have of them.

Slide 12.

Warning Signs:

• Answers that sound a little too rehearsed.

• Candidates who can’t answer at all.

• Traits that clash with your culture (EG. bossiness).

• Candidates who are clearly fibbing; would a friend really call them ‘proactive’?

Slide 13.


Slide 14

Q2. What's your least favourite bit about your job?

Slide 15.

Translation: How negative are you and what tasks might we find it difficult to get you to do?

Slide 16.

What are you looking for?

This question will help you to suss out whether there are any clashes between the candidate’s personality & the job role they’re applying for.

Make sure you ask for the reasoning behind each answer so you can assess exactly what they don’t like about the task.

Slide 17.

Warning Signs:

  • Candidates who are overly negative about their current job role.
  • Candidates who dislike tasks, just because they find them difficult.
  • Candidates who dislike some of the key tasks that you’d want them to do at your workplace.

Slide 18.

Q3. How do you like to be managed?

Slide 19.

Translation: Will my management style work for you or will I have to change the way I work?

Slide 20.

What are you looking for?

This is an absolute deal-breaker.

You really don’t want to hire someone who can’t (or won’t) be managed effectively.

A great employee will adapt their work approach for you.

Slide 21.

Ok, ok… Perhaps in certain circumstances you would be willing to change your management technique – for the right employee. But remember, you’re not going to be able to do that for every new person that comes along.

Slide 22.

Warning Signs:

  • Candidates who are openly derogatory about any former bosses (obviously).
  • Candidates who are a little too enthusiastic about not having to report to managers.
  • Candidates who work best under management techniques entirely different to yours.

Slide 23.

Q4. Who is the biggest influence on your career?

Slide 24.

Translation: Why do you really want this job?

Slide 25.

What are you looking for?

We all have a variety of influencers in our lives, from celebrities and mentors to family members and friends and discovering your candidate’s will reveal an awful lot about their personal and professional life.

And why they’re applying for the job…

Slide 26.

Warning Signs:

Candidates who’ve been swept along by luck, spontaneity and randomness are likely to be less passionate and committed.

Candidates who’ve made decisions based solely on advice (or even the command) of a loved one (like a parent) are more likely to feel pressured & unhappy and they certainly won’t be as committed.

Slide 27.

Q5. What do you do to get "in the zone?"

Slide 28.

Translation: How do you work best and will you be able to work productively in our environment?

Slide 29.

What are you looking for? Most productive members of staff will have some sort of process that prepares them for moments of deep concentration and proactivity – whether they prefer noise or complete silence. I personally listen to music (with no lyrics) when I really need to get my creative juices flowing.

Slide 30.

Warning Signs:

  • Candidates who say they need peace and quiet - if your office is particularly buzzing.
  • Vice versa.
  • Candidates who don’t have an answer; dig deeper or rephrase the question if they seem confused.

Slide 31.

Q6. What book do you think every [job role] should read?

Slide 32.

Translation: Are you passionate about your industry and willing to educate yourself in your spare time?

Slide 33.

What are you looking for?

In an ideal world, your new employee will not only appreciate the training provided at your workplace, but they will also take the time to learn outside of working hours too.

Passion is an important part of any job role and if a candidate can prove that they go out of their way to improve, grow and learn, then they’re truly worth their weight in gold.

Slide 34.

Heads up…

This question really is a toughie and it’s important to bear in mind that it will be more relevant for higher-level candidates in certain industries (for example, marketing manager).

So if you do decide to use it, don’t be too harsh!

Slide 35.

Warning Signs:

  • Candidates who can’t name an industry book or author.
  • Candidates who can name a book, but can’t describe it (IE. they’re blagging).
  • Candidates who recommend really weird books; it’s a professional interview, after all!

Slide 36.

Q7. If you could be any animal, which would it be and why?

Slide 37.

Translation: Are you creative and can you have a laugh?

Slide 38.

What are you looking for?

It may sound a little bit random, but this question is actually a favourite among experienced interviewers.

It’s a great way to quickly assess whether a candidate is creative (or completely not).

Slide 39.

Warning Signs:

  • Candidates who can’t seem to answer the question – where’s the creativity?
  • Candidates whose answers are just weird like ‘I think I’d like to be a tapeworm. Warmth, security, and a 24×7 all-you-can-eat buffet.’
  • Candidates whose answers are boring like ‘a cat, because they’re my favourite animal’.

Slide 40.


Slide 41.

Q8. What motivates you?

Slide 42.

Translation: Have I got the necessary resources to motivate you/ would you fit in with our culture?

Slide 43.

What are you looking for? You can tell an awful lot about a person by what motivates them. Do they want security? More money and perks and benefits? To help other people? Ask yourself honestly, can you offer them what they want? If not, there’s no point taking them on.

Slide 44.

It’s not all about the money!

You’d be surprised how many candidates won’t cite money as their motivating factor.

In fact, a survey conducted by TINYhr on 200,000 anonymous employees showed that the main motivator was actually peer camaraderie!

Slide 45.

Warning Signs:

  • Candidates who can’t answer; something must motivate them surely?
  • Candidates whose motivations are at odds with your culture.
  • Candidates who are clearly only motivated by money or perks (especially if that’s something you can’t offer).

Slide 46.

Q9. Tell me about a time when you failed at something.

Slide 47.

Translation: Are you willing to admit your imperfections, how do you cope with them and will you take constructive criticism?

Slide 48.

What are you looking for?

Nobody is perfect and a good candidate will be able to acknowledge that.

The most positive answers will be honest, describing how they faced their failure head on and used the experience to learn and grow.

Slide 49.

Warning Signs:

  • Candidates who blame others for their failures.
  • Candidates who are too negative about themselves.
  • Candidates who claim they’ve never failed at anything in their life.

Slide 50.

Q10. What are your pet hates?

Slide 51.

Translation: Will you fit in with the other people in the team and do you play nice?

Slide 52.

What are you looking for?

Everyone has their own pet peeves, but some can handle them better than others.

Watch a candidate’s body language when they answer…are they really, visibly frustrated?

Or are they the kind of person who can cope well, and accept other people’s faults?

Slide 53.

Warning Signs:

  • Candidates who reel off a big list of things they don’t like about other people.
  • Candidates who will quite clearly fit in terribly with the team.
  • Candidates who start bitching about people in their current (or previous) workplace.

Slide 54.

Q11. What will your referee say is your biggest weakness?

Slide 55.

Translation: Answer honestly or I’ll find out you’ve lied!

Slide 56.

What are you looking for?

This is a great question (although pretty harsh).

Even if you have absolutely no intention of calling your candidate’s referee, you can be sure that 99% of candidates will answer honestly, in case you do.

Of course if you do get a chance to ask their referee, it will also give you an idea of how well they can assess themselves.

Slide 57.

You could start a whole range of questions with ‘when I contact your referee…’ to make sure you can get an honest response.

  • When I contact your referee what will they say is your strongest attribute?
  • When I contact your referee what will they say is your main responsibility?
  • When I contact your referee how do you think they’ll describe your personality?

Slide 58.

Warning Signs:

  • Candidates who admit to weak skills that are integral to the role.
  • Candidates who panic.
  • Candidates who say they don’t know – this shows a lack of understanding of their current job performance.

Slide 59.

So what next?

Slide 60.

It’s always a good idea to come up with a list of interview questions before an interview…

Slide 61.

At Coburg Banks, we suggest using a mixture of:

The Basics

Behavioural Questions

Leadership Interview Questions

Click on the links above to find examples for you to swipe and deploy in your own interviews!

Slide 62.

Of course, this should be used as a guiding structure, not a script.

You don’t want the whole process to come across false and rigid.

Have fun, help your candidate to feel at ease and enjoy the process!

Slide 63.

Click here to download our free eBook, which reveals more:

  • Cutting edge advice on how to write brilliant job adverts that attract the best candidates for your role.
  • Body language tips so you can spot the good, the bad and the complete liars in your interview process.
  • More insider secrets revealing how to draw out the best (and the worst) in your interviewing candidates. Want to read more?

Slide 64.

Enjoy and Good Luck from the Coburg Banks Team!

Slide 65.

The End.

Coburg Banks - Multi-Sector Recruitment Agency
We help great people get brilliant jobs in top companies.