Coburg Banks | Multi-sector UK recruitment agency

12 Interview questions that will identify the top candidate for the job

By Charles Trivett | Feb 24, 2014 | Assessing Applicants

Ever wondered how some firms always seem to get the exceptional people for the job?

Maybe your interview process just doesn’t do enough to excite candidates who come through the door.

At Coburg Banks we’ve put together some interview questions and techniques that will test the interviewees and allow candidates to show off their capabilities, ideas and innovations.

The following 12 questions will help you to quickly reveal which one of your applicants is the very best.

Problem Solving.

Generally the best hires are those who can identify problems accurately and then solve them efficiently.  The following questions will help to identify the candidates who can do this the best.

1.  Pinpointing the problems and opportunities of the position:

Ask:  “How will you identify the most important issues and opportunities that will face you in your new job?”

2.  Can you identify the likely problems in our processes?

Ask:  “From the systems that we currently operate (hand them a single paper showing this) can you identify three areas where problems are likely to occur?”

3.  Problem solving:

Ask:  “On your first day you are faced with this problem (hand a sheet with bullet points outlining the issues) in broad terms how would you solve these issues?”

How to demonstrate your organisation as forward thinking.

If your organisation works in a fast-evolving environment such as IT you want candidates who can who reflect this, so ask questions to find the candidates who can meet your requirements.

4.  How do you think this job will develop?

Ask:  “Can you project 5 ways in which your role will develop in the next three years as a result of the changes in the industry?”

5.  How do you think the industry will develop?

Ask:  “What do you think will be the next 5 industry trends and which firms do you think will have to change to accommodate these changes?”

Identifying a candidate’s ability to innovate, adapt, and learn.

Learners, adaptors and innovators are often the best employees.  The following questions will help you to identify these people.

6.  How would you become a continuous learning expert?

Ask:  “Can you give us an example of important matters that you need to keep learning about and tell us how you would maintain that knowledge? (or you could ask how they do this in their current position)”

7.  Demonstrating adaptability to change:

Ask:  “Can you tell us how you have successfully adapted to a rapidly changing situation in your current role and how this has developed your position?”

8.  Illustrate to us how you will innovate:

Ask:  “Which part of your job do you think will benefit the most from innovation and how would you achieve this?”

Understanding what makes the candidate tick.

Asking candidates to rank answers can help to distinguish what is important to them so you can successfully sell your organisation to the top candidates.  They will also reveal their preferences, motivators, strengths and the best way to manage them.

9.  List and rank your job acceptance factors:

Ask:  “If you had the choice between this position and another, list the factors that you would use to decide which one to take listing them in their descending order of importance to you.”

10.  List your job motivators and rank them in importance:

Ask:  “What are the top five factors that you have found that best motivate you on the job. Please list them in their descending order of importance to you.”

11.  What is the most effective approach for managing you?

Ask:  “To help our employees succeed and get the most out of their jobs how can we help you reach your goals ie feedback, results etc?”

12.  List and rank the capabilities that you bring to this job:

Ask:  “When you consider knowledge, experience, education and skills can you list what you have found to be your 5 strongest capabilities that have made you perform well in your current job”

Don’t rely on typical interview questions – you will likely get fully rehearsed answers. By asking good questions you will be able to see the exceptional candidates and find the ways in which to hire them.

- Charles Trivett
Charles - blog author

Charles Trivett

Charles heads up Coburg Banks’ IT Division, and has worked in recruitment for nearly 20 years.  His knowledge of how to optimise and get the most from a recruitment campaign is second to none, and he now works with a select handful of clients in maximising their recruitment ROI.

> More blog posts by Charles Trivett

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