A typical interview usually ranges from 30 to 60 minutes in length, and it usually includes a set of popular questions such as “What you can tell me about yourself?”, “Why do you want to work here?” and “What are your greatest weaknesses?”

The Problem with Traditional Questions

There are two difficulties with this model.

  1. As these inquiries are commonly used, candidates are likely to give prepared, rehearsed and well-polished answers.
  2. These queries often reveal very little about whether the person is qualified for the job. To put this in perspective, let’s say you are in the process of hiring an electrician to rewire your home. As part of the screening process, would you ask, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Probably not. In this context it sounds ridiculous.

A Better Way to Interview

Lou Adler, the author of the best-selling book, Hire with Your Head, claims to have spent ten years finding the one interview question that matters …

What single project or task would you consider your most significant accomplishment in your career to date?

Why is this question effective? After it is proposed, it can …

Provide Insight into Skills and Values

Your candidate’s response will tell you quite a bit about what they consider to be important in the workplace and in their life. This is their “most significant accomplishment” after all. It should help you to learn more about what skills they possess, how they approach their work and how they define success.

Open a Conversation

Although there are advantages to structured interviews, this format can feel like an interrogation with one question after another. Adler’s inquiry provides the opportunity for give and take, and it allows the interviewer to follow-up in a more meaning and relevant way. Additional queries may include, “What were the biggest challenges you needed to overcome?”, “Who else contributed to the success of this accomplishment?”, and “How did your management team help or hinder your progress?”

Allow for Further Analysis  

If you like (or don’t like) the answer a candidate provides to further questions, you, as the interviewer will have the freedom to request more information. Ask your potential hire to “Give an example of…” or “Describe the situation in more detail.” This strategy will permit you to branch out from the main question and learn even more about the candidate’s abilities and personality.

Could Your Company Use Some Help with Hiring?

At Priority One Staffing Services, we can help you find the right people quickly, so you can get back to accomplishing your goals. We recruit for healthcare, administrative/clerical, call center, financial and human resources throughout the Baltimore, Maryland area. Request an Employee today!

Leave a Reply