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Optimum Talks Blog

Tips for Interviewing Job Seekers

by Optimum Talent

As interviewers, it can be easy to get stuck in the ‘status quo’ of interviewing; asking standard questions to candidates and barely scratching the surface. So, how can we better engage a candidate in conversation and identify top talent? Given the current economy and job market, there are often many people with the skills that you are looking for, but we need to be sure that you are hiring the right person. Asking basic questions only gets you so far, as candidates have likely anticipated many of these and have come with prepared responses. To attract and qualify top candidates, you need to go outside of the typical outline and ask open-ended, thought-provoking questions. To get an authentic impression of a candidate, it can be useful to have a few compelling and unique questions up your sleeve.

As a national firm, we work with many different industries across the country and we have had the opportunity to speak with thousands of candidates. Part of our role as the interviewer and the search firm is to capture the personality of the candidates we interview and hire for fit. We asked our colleagues across the country what some of their favourite questions are and compiled a great cheat sheet that you can use to keep your interviews fresh and atypical.

  1. Can you think of a time where you had to make a decision, knowing the risks associated with it, and tell me how you came to make it?
  2. On your worst day, when it feels like the sky is falling, how do you show up? What version of you shows up?
  3. Tell me about a personality trait that you possess that sometimes can get in the way of your own success.
  4. What frustrates you?
  5. Tell me about a mistake you made – how did you handle it?
  6. What is the biggest misconception people at work may have about you?
  7. Who have been the mentors that you have chosen for yourself?  Why these individuals and what was it about them that you were trying to emulate?
  8. If you are offered more than one job, how will you decide which one to accept?
  9. On a scale of 1-10, what is your level of interest in this role? What information do you require to get you to a 10?
  10. What do you consider to be the biggest risk to accept this position?
  11. Why do you want this job?
  12. Who helped you get where you are today and how did they help?
  13. What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?
  14. Has there been a time in your career that you would highlight as a game changer?
  15. Which do you think is more important to possess, IQ or EQ, and why?
  16. Define “change agent”; what is your strategy for working through organizational disruption?
  17. How did you prepare for Halloween night as a kid?

What is your favourite interview question to ask?

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