A well-planned interview will include a number of questions which have been designed to reveal information about the potential candidates and their achievements, goals, skills and personalities. More interviewers are aware of the common questions, so we have put together the following list which is designed to give you a better insight into potential candidates’ abilities.

1) “Tell me about a goal which you were able to achieve recently, what plan of action did you have in place?”

This is a great way to break the ice in an interview, as the candidate will quickly be able to talk in detail about their recent achievements. It is likely the candidate will discuss a goal which a manager set them and the steps they took to achieve the goal, but a great candidate will explain how they were able to set their own goals. You should look for candidates which were able to adapt plans as situations changed, to ensure the overall goal was achieved. A good employee is able to plan well and adjust to quickly changing environments.

2) “Can you give me an example of a goal which you were unable to achieve and why this happened?”

We all make mistakes, it is only natural. An honest and open candidate will be able to take responsibility for failing tasks, without trying to blame others. A great candidate will talk about the lessons they were able to learn from the experience. All failings are a learning curve and should have provided a candidate with improved skills and expertise from the insight gained.

3) “Have you ever started a conversation with a co-worker which became uncomfortable, if so what did you say?”

If there is a problem in the workplace which requires an awkward conversation, many employees will struggle to open up. In many situations people believe the easy option is to stay silent, while hoping that someone else in the workplace steps up and starts the conversation. If your candidate does not have an example of an uncomfortable conversation, they may not be a great fit for a team. A great team should be able to support each other through praise and constructive criticism.

An ideal candidate should be able to demonstrate an ability to involve themselves in team dynamics. They should be able to raise issues within the team and discuss interpersonal issues rather than hesitating.

4) “Tell me about the last time that you upset someone while at work? How did you handle the situation?”

There are conflicts in both our personal and professional lives, and in every role we are likely to be faced with conflict. This is an excellent way of establishing which candidates are unable to accept responsibility for an issue. An ideal candidate will be able to explain why an issue occurred and how they worked to solve the problem.

A common situation is when candidates raise an issue within a team, as it can lead to temporary upset. The candidate should be able to identify where the issue came from and demonstrate how they resolved the situation in a professional way. The best candidates will be able to admit when they were at fault and identify any of their actions which could have led to the upset.

5) “How did the first three months go in your last position, what were you able to achieve?”

This question will help you find candidates which are looking to hit the ground running. The ideal employee will want to learn quickly by finding their way in the day-to-day running of the business. The candidate should be able to describe how they were able to add value to the business and the skills which they brought to the position. You should be looking for candidates who were quickly able to identify changes to make in the workplace to improve efficiency, customer satisfaction and quality levels. Try to look for candidates who dive into their roles, rather than waiting for instructions from senior employees.

The best candidates are those who are able to share what they have learned through their working lives, as it shows they are always looking to develop and learn. Rather than moving from one question to the next, try to create a natural conversation flow, as it will put the candidate at ease. Always aim to find out a little more through follow up questions, which may not have been carefully prepared in advance. Remember to give the candidate ample opportunities to talk about their experience, skills and their career goals as small details could show you that they are a great fit for your business.

As a professional recruitment agency, we can assist you in finding the ideal candidate for your position. If you would like to find out more about our services, please contact us.