As we come out COVID many people are reevaluating their career options and exploring alternatives. That means job interviews are a guarantee.

Job interviews can be awkward for the interviewee and interviewer. These interactions, whether they are in person or virtual, are a critical component of the hiring process. As an interviewer, you must maximize the time with a candidate to determine if they have what it takes to do the job.

Instead of asking the same old job interview questions, change it up!

The key to getting better information is asking better questions.

Some candidates have refined their skills to become good interviewers and have standard responses to typical questions. Therefore, you should ask questions that make them think to receive better answers. That leads to a “conversation” not an “interrogation”. More insight and perspective and less awkward and stressful moments.

Here are a few of my favorites that harken back to when I did this for living.

Ask Aspirational Questions

Motivational questions give the candidate the opportunity to state their career goals, passion and share what they are looking for in a job.

Move beyond the typical “Why do you want to work for our firm?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Dig deeper to discover their real motivation.

  1. What factors determine the type of company and roles you apply for?
  2. Describe your ideal job and why you are interested in that.
  3. Describe the type of company you want to work for and the culture and values that would make it appealing?
  4. If you receive more than one job offer, how will you decide which one to accept?
  5. What kind of work/job would place you in your “sweet spot”?

Ask Soft Skills Questions

Soft skills relate more to emotional intelligence and provide insight into candidate self-awareness and how they deal with others. Ask questions that provide insight to how the person will deal with people challenges.

  1. How do you deal with different personality types?
  2. What personal or relationship accomplishments are you most proud of?
  3. How do you deal with criticism and negative feedback?
  4. Tell me about when you struggled with dealing with difficult people and how you overcame it.
  5. Tell me about a mistake or significant challenge you’ve learned the most from? (Where have you failed forward?)

Ask Situational Questions

Situational questions help you understand how a candidate works through challenges and opportunities. They can be hypothetical, or you can ask the candidate to share about actual situations they’ve experienced. Ask about a challenge they’ve experienced in the past and how they dealt with it and what they’ve learned from the experience.

  1. Tell me about when you had multiple projects, time limits or deadlines and how you identified the priorities and addressed them?
  2. Tell me about a time when you had to make a tough workplace decision that involved sharing some difficult information with a person or a team?
  3. If you were running our firm, what would be the top 3 priorities you’d set?
  4. How would you present our products/services to someone who doesn’t know about our firm?
  5. Tell me about a time you had to do something quickly to satisfy a client versus taking the time to it right. How did you present the options?

Job interviews are your best opportunity to get to know a candidate and determine if they’re the person you’re looking for. So don’t squander it.

Ask good questions that enable the candidate to express who they are and what they will do for your firm.