What Interview Questions Rock?

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Scenario: "Dude, tell me how much you rock. Thanks! High-Five!" What's wrong with most interview questions? Most won't show how well Prospect Prospy would do your in company. For instance, questions such as:

  • "What are your biggest weakness?"
  • "What are your biggest strengths?"
  • "Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

paint a superficial exterior of candidates. Instead of relying solely on the 'traditional behavioral' interview questions, couple those with ones demonstrating what they'd do in certain scenarios. That, folks, gives you a much better predictor on their success with your company.

"What Kind of Questions?"

Demonstrative questions. Demonstrative questions show you what prospects would do in:

  • Company Situation A
  • Company Situation B
  • Company Situation C

An altered example from New York Executive Consultant Justin Menkes


"You are the manager of a small software company.
  1. Your prices are being severely undercut by competitors.
  2. Your team recognizes a desperate need to cut costs.
  3. Your employee concludes that the answer is to outsource most of the company's programming to foreign subcontractors, thereby reducing labor costs.
  4. In fact, your employee has already received a number of bids from service firms in India.
What questions do you have about his proposal?"

What would a solid response be? According to Menkes:

  1. "[She] would explain that the core assumption underlying the COO's conclusion needs to be confirmed'that is, outsourcing automatically equals cheaper production."
  2. "She might point out that there may be indirect costs (up-front investment, ongoing customer service, and software development issues) involved with such a move that must be considered."
  3. "Further, she would cite the probable unintended consequences of the COO's proposal, such as how using a distant workforce might affect productivity or labor relations."

Someone that answers outright: "Hey! Solid idea! Let's throw all our resources into it!" -- or something similarly superficial -- would probably have sound decision problems.

What Demonstrative Questions Rock?

Menkes recommends scenario questions be:

  • Original: The more original, the less BSing they could do.
  • Relevant: The more company relevant, the clearer their abilities for your company.

When you're out preparing your interview questions for your next superstars, keep this sucka handy:

"Yo, yo, yo! What'd you do in this scenario: ____?"


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Posted on May 04

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