Interviews are the best opportunity to find out what strengths a job candidate has beyond their credentials. A resume only tells you what they want you to know. Beyond that, you’re on your own as far as figuring out the rest. How can you uncover a candidate’s true strengths in an interview? Here are some thing you can try that you might not have tried yet.


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Give the candidate a problem to solve

As a leader in your industry, you know what conflicts and problems may arise on any given day. These problems might be morally based, or they might be based on company rules. As such, you should be able to create a problem for your candidate to solve. It could also be a scenario you want to see them work through.

Some examples you could use:

  • A conflict with a co-worker over safety guidelines
  • How they might choose between speed and efficiency
  • How they might navigate the gray areas of stated rules

As always, there is more than this to choose from, and in many cases, giving prompts like this isn’t needed or appropriate. However, hopefully this will help you with some ideas and is worth considering.

When giving a candidate a problem to solve, keep a look-out for qualities that interest you. Their answer might end up being good enough, but their methods of getting there aren’t. Or, their answer is wrong, but they’re on the right track and they understand your company’s values.

Ideally, this should be used as the book-end to an interview. Meaning, you should save it for the last portion of the interview. Hopefully the candidate, by this point, has learned enough about the job specifics that they can give an educated response.


Ask them about previous employment

In the same vein as hypothetical scenarios, ask about previous employment.

We don’t mean asking them who they used to work for. That’ll be on their resume. In this instance, ask them about specific things that happened at their previous job. You could ask about situations between co-workers, or a problem that did not have an easy fix.

If they were in a leadership position and are seeking one in your company, you might want to ask how they dealt with employee issues. This will give you insight into their management style. If they are being honest and genuine, it will come out in their response.

This type of question is also better served near the end of an interview. It doesn’t necessarily have to be at the end. It can be used to tie in the candidate’s resume with everything else they’ve said across the interview.


Ask about their references

Candidates will most-likely either have references listed on their resume or have them ready elsewhere. Depending on who they list as a reference, here are a few questions you can ask:

  • “Can you tell me/us about an interaction you had with [reference] that made an impression on you?”
  • “What was it like to work with [reference]?”
  • “What are some things you learned from [reference]?”

A candidate who has a good relationship with their reference will be able to answer any one of these questions.

The goal of these questions is, ultimately, to help you figure out how this person might work within your company. Yes, they are most-likely going to choose something positive to talk about. However, you can always call their reference list to gain additional insight later.


Wanting to put these tips to the test, but have no one coming in for interviews? We can help. Contact us today to see how we can help you find quality employees for your critical positions.