The best interview question is one that doesn’t necessarily have a “right” answer but rather gives you a glimpse into how someone thinks, feels, or truly demonstrates their experience level. Good interview questions can’t be easily interpreted for “what’s the answer they want to hear?.”
So the best questions require people to think critically, perhaps offer a ranges on good response, or ask people to compare and contrast things. I also always pair my questions: I don’t just ask about a specific skill set, I ensure my question will also elicit a values-based responses as well. Good interview questions always link to an organization’s values. For example, here are a few of my favorites:
- Give me an example of a time when you had to adjust quickly to changes over which you had no control. What was the impact of that change on you?
Skills evaluated: willingness to learn new tasks, critical thinking
Values evaluated: communication, flexibility, team player
- We work hard, and we also have fun. What are some ways you’ve brought “fun” into your previous workplace?
Skills evaluated: creativity
Values evaluated: team player, fun
- Describe your current boss. What do you appreciate most about them? What do you wish was different?
I particularly like the last question because it applies to every single person, no matter what the job opening is, and it let’s the interviewer get a glimpse into how the candidate likes to be managed. It can also offer insight about how they speak about their supervisor, especially if they are leaving the position because they don’t feel the supervisory relationship is positive. It can often prevent some significant mis-hires or illuminate critical warning signs.
Addam Marcotte is Vice President of Operations and Organization Development for FMG Leading. He holds a Masters in Organization Development from Pepperdine University and currently consults with a variety of organizations in diverse industries. At FMG Leading, his work centers on organizational culture change, executive coaching, and team development.