interview question

One Interview Question That Cuts Through the BS to Reveal Someone's True Character

By Catherine Lang-Cline

We all try to be so clever when asking interview questions. We might be intentionally trying to trip up a candidate or we might be really wanting to dig deep and see if this person is going to be a fit for our company.  

Inc. Magazine recently said that THE QUESTION to ask in an interview is: Can you give me the names of four people whose careers you have fundamentally improved?  

The idea behind this question is that if the person being interviewed starts listing names of people with more influence than they do, they are “takers.” “Givers” on the other hand will list people that are equal to them or below them, because they like to build up other people.

This is definitely a great question and you can learn a lot about someone if this is asked. You want people on your team that can work well with others. People that will “raise all ships” and be an overall cheerleader of the company and the people that have chosen to work there.

You want a person that is not self-serving, is confident, and is comfortable enough to help others elevate their game. So perhaps this is the one question that cuts through the BS. Perhaps this tells you everything you need to know. But just in case that doesn’t give you exactly all of the answers, I will include some of the questions that I like, that serve a similar purpose.

Did you work while you went to college or in high school?

You can determine if a person is a self-starter, a get-it-done person, or needs to stay focused on one thing at a time. It can also illustrate if they are grateful in any way for any help that they received while going to school. It is difficult to give employees a lot of perks when they are not going to appreciate a single one of them. 

What is your dream job and why?

This question is similar to “what gets you up in the morning?” It digs a bit deeper and allows you to get a peek at what they love to do. Is it to help people, to strategize, to simply make money? This kind of question tells you if what you are offering is going to keep them interested for a long period of time. People want purpose and they will give 100% of themselves if they know they have a purpose with your company.

Can you share some examples of what you’ve done to grow and develop in your current job?

Not only will you find out if this person likes to challenge themselves and grow, making them more of an asset to you, you also have a problem-solver. They will give of their own time to improve their skill set which makes this person more of an asset.

Point being, in every answer, you want the “giver.” You want someone that wants more then taking a paycheck from you, and perhaps an hour or two at the company ping-pong table. Get your one question that is going to cut through the BS asked up front and get yourself a whole team of givers.

Interested in reading the article that inspired this one? Check it out here.

 

60 Seconds and You’re Hired: Interview Tips that Work

By Kristen Harris

This is it! Showtime. Your interview is scheduled, you’ve taken the time to prepare, and are confidently walking in the door, ready to go. Now it’s time to show them what you’ve got.

If you haven’t quite prepared for the interview yet, check out part one of this series— You’re Hired: Five Tips to Prepare for a Great Interview.

Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes for a moment. For one reason or another, there’s an open role on their team. They have a problem, and think you might be the solution. Actually they hope you are, because they need to get on to the work, not just keep interviewing candidates. When you walk in the door or pick up the phone, that other person wants it to go just as well as you do.

By focusing on key parts of a successful interview, you’ll give yourself a better chance of being “the one.”

First Impressions.

You’ve planned ahead and arrived on time. Take a deep breath, smile, and enter the building with confidence. Greet the person at the front desk and politely ask for the contact you’re meeting. When your interviewer comes to greet you, exude confidence – stand up, make eye contact, smile, and offer a handshake.

Make it a Conversation.

Once the interview starts, think of it as a conversation, not an interrogation. Speak clearly and confidently. Don’t blurt things out; take a few seconds to consider your answer. Explain yourself, but don’t talk too much, ramble, or go on tangents. Answer their questions, focusing on the areas you think are important to the hiring manager. If you’re not sure what’s most important, ask–it’s a conversation.

Talk Less, Listen More.

Answer questions and participate in the conversation, but also listen to what they are saying. The interviewer will give you hints as to what they want, or come right out and tell you. They came in hoping you’re a good fit, listen to what they’re saying so you can show them that you are.

Watch Your Body Language.

Sit up straight, make eye contact, don’t fidget. Don’t fold your arms, it can come across as defensive or insecure; take up space and show confidence. Pay attention to what they’re doing and follow suit. Mirroring is a psychological technique to help connect with others.

Participate and Gauge Their Interest.

Make eye contact, nod your head, take a few notes–do the normal things that demonstrate you’re listening and participating in the conversation. Watch for signs they’re engaged, like leaning in or taking notes. If you see signs they’re losing interest, like fidgeting or checking the clock, ask a question or let them ask more questions to get the conversation back on track.

Turn Off Your Phone.

This gets it’s own section because it is SO important. Having your phone ring during an interview is distracting, interruptive, and just plain rude. If you forget and it rings, don’t answer! Apologize, silence the call, and turn off the ringer. Everything else can wait, there is nothing more important right now than this interview.

Wrap It Up.

Near the end of the interview they’ll probably ask if you have any questions. If they don’t ask, about ten minutes before the scheduled conclusion let them know that you have a few questions. Prioritize in case you run short of time, the interviewer will indicate when the interview is over. Thank them for their time and consideration. If they haven’t already told you, ask when they’ll be making a decision or what the next steps will be. Part with a good handshake, a friendly smile, and “I look forward to hearing from you”.

Walk out confidently, knowing that you’ve presented your best self. Now it’s time to send a thoughtful thank you note, and wait patiently for more information or the next step.

You’re Hired: Five Tips to Prepare for a Great Interview

By Kristen Harris

You have an interview! Maybe you’re a little nervous. It probably feels like there are a thousand things to remember. Whether it’s your first interview, or you haven’t interviewed in twenty years, being prepared can help tilt the outcome in your favor.

There are two sides to every interview, the person interviewing you and YOU. While it may seem like the interviewer holds all the cards, you have total control over one half of that equation.

Keep in mind that you both want the same thing— for this to be a good fit so you can move forward in the hiring process. No hiring manager wants to suffer through a bad interview or waste time talking to a string of people that are not a good fit. And you don’t want that either. Be prepared so you can be “the one”.

  1. Clothing and Grooming. Studies show you have between 7 and 30 seconds to make a first impression, and it’s often based on subtle cues we’re not even aware of. Never give someone a reason to not like you. I’m all for creative expression, but keep it appropriate for the situation. Find out the dress code at the company, and dress one step above that. Make sure everything is fresh, clean, in good condition, fits well, and smells good. That includes your clothing, body and hair (head and facial). Keep jewelry, makeup and scents to a minimum.
  2. Resume and Work Samples. Make any last-minute updates to your resume, and bring several copies in case you meet with more than one person. If work samples are expected for your role, have those ready to present as well. If everything is online, confirm they have the appropriate technology available or bring your own. If possible, bring a few printed samples in the event of a total technology fail. For more on this topic, read our blog on creative portfolio tips.
  3. Know the Location. There is no good reason to arrive late; you are being judged from the moment you arrive, so be on time. Plan ahead, map the address, calculate travel time, and do a trial run of the route. Identify parking, or ask your contact where to park. Arrive a few minutes early, relax, take a deep breath, and walk in about 10 minutes before your interview time. Calm, cool, collected.
  4. Know Your Contact. It might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people show up for an interview and can’t remember the name of the person they’re meeting. You’ll need the company name, address including floor or suite number, and name of the person you’re meeting. If someone else set up the interview, bring their information too. Write all of this down, put it in your phone, or be extra-safe and do both. A day or two before your interview, use LinkedIn to check out the person you’re meeting so you know what they look like, their background, experience, and anything you may have in common or want to ask about.
  5. Prepare Questions. Before you’re ready to walk in the door, practice the interview. Plan what you want to do and say, and think about questions they might ask. Walk through your resume and portfolio on your own, or with a trusted friend or colleague. What do you want to emphasize or highlight? Find a nice notebook to bring on the interview, and write down a few questions of your own. What do you want to know about the company, role, manager, team, or culture? What do you need to know to decide if this is a good fit for you?

Remember there are two sides to every interview. You’re in control of, and responsible for your part, so take the time to be prepared. Then relax and get ready to shine!