See below the final in the series of 3 great questions to ask candidates in interviews:
1. What was the least likeable aspect of your last job?
Be wary of candidates who say something controversial about their last employer such as “There was a horrible culture in my last job where many people were there so long that they became institutionalised” or “I felt that the company was about to go to the wall so I was desperate to get out”. Even if the above comments are true, they exude negativity, a trait very few employers are looking for in a new member of staff.
Candidates who should be favoured are candidates who highlight something less controversial such as “meetings in my last job were often held on a Friday afternoon and they often ran over by an hour. This was irritating as Friday afternoon was often my busiest time where I was focussed on achieving my weekly sales targets. By the time I got out of some meetings, many of my best clients had gone home for the weekend. Despite this hiccup, my personal success rate at meeting weekly sales targets was 94%”
2. When were you at you happiest in your last job?
Candidates who are generally vague and give answers such as “I was happiest when I was receiving praise for doing a good job” should be viewed in a lesser light than candidates who highlight specific achievements. Below is a good example of the type of answer you should be looking out for:
“Being announced top salesperson two years running, increasing the customer base by 80%, increasing turnover for my employer by 20% is when I was happiest in my last job.
3. How do you explain the gap in employment on your CV?
Be wary of candidates who say something like “there were no jobs at that time so I decided to take a break”. Even though the above may be true to a large degree, it may come across as defeatist and lazy to a potential employer.
A better answer could be “I am very particular about my career and decided to wait for the right opportunity. It took 4 interviews over 6 weeks before I landed my next role. Also during this period I commenced a course learning a new software package, which I thought would greatly assist me in regards career progression. The 3 month gap on my CV ended up being one of the busiest periods in my career”
The above questions are an excellent way of probing further into a candidate’s general outlook towards work, into what motivates them and what annoys them most in the workplace.