Are you one of the 65 million YouTube views who have watched a Miss America contestant attempt to answer impromptu questions on global warming, world peace or why American youths have trouble finding the US on a map? The world watched these brave young women experience mental melt downs while being interviewed live in front of the world. Wouldn’t it be interesting to put stress meters on candidates we interview as we throw our version of insightful questions capable of allowing people to reveal their true talent, nature and interests? Even under the best of conditions, the stress level can escalate to mind-numbing levels.


Our recent survey asked for questions that allowed candidates to show their capabilities in the best light. Here are some of the great tools listed that we can use to strengthen our interviewing chops.


What do you think you can do for our company?

Tell me why you applied for this position.


Great open ended question for someone who spent time preparing to meet me.


While one responded with a great open ended question What motivates you, I love how these next questions took the probing to a different level, offering deeper more creative response.


How’d you get to where you are? What qualities do you think were most helpful?

Tell me your journey.


The magic dust is the last section Tell me your journey. This shifts the candidate into story telling mode, which is how our brain naturally works. We should see them light up, become engaged.


Describe a collaboration or project to which you were a contributor. How did you benefit the group, what was the outcome? What would you do differently? What did you learn?


Super question for anyone who is willing to take accountability for their role and responsibility.


Tell me about your favorite job. Why was it your favorite?


We need to ask the question “why” more in our interview process. It gives more information on what drives people to perform than “how.”


What has been the most important moment or experience of your career so far?

Ask me about my Best Day on the job, about a success story, frame it around $$$.


These questions allow the candidate to focus on a day when they rocked, they accomplished something. Takes them to a different place more than “what’s your biggest accomplishment?”).


What is your greatest weakness?


Loved that someone said this opened up an opportunity to shine in an interview.


I have a dozen candidates with a skill set that will do the job, what do you bring to the table that they don’t?


While some may see this as a challenge statement, it offers the candidate a door to showcase how they see themselves in comparison to others. We don’t give candidates the opportunity to sell themselves as much as we should.


Ask how I create relationships, formulate agreements, and maintain relationships.

Has there ever been someone you didn’t get along with as well as you would have liked? What was the circumstance? Why do you think that happened?


This allows the candidate to tell you how they interact with others, how well do they play in a group or establish sandbox guidelines.


What I learned from these survey responses is:

  1. Set the candidate up to tell me stories in a different manner than tell me a time when they___.
  2. Frame my questions better so the candidate has opportunities to sell themselves.


What did you learn from their responses? Comment to share your thoughts.