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In many ways, this is the easiest trait to test. For more technical roles, you can even build a timed Excel test with some practice problems or logic tests. Otherwise, case-style questions will do the trick. You want to find people who can think deeply about their roles—people who have advanced understanding of how their work connects to their coworkers and the company at large—and organize their priorities to drive business value in the right ways.

Have your candidate tell you about a time they had a measurable read: For example, were they responsible for generating revenue or recruiting X new teammates or doubling the number of people reached?


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Another valuable line of inquiry: Ask about a person or organization that the candidate admires, and why they think that person or organization has made an important impact. Cross-functional teams are the norm, and as companies and industries become increasingly global and transparent, the desire to create a more diverse workforce will only grow stronger. Professionals who are able to understand different social styles are the key ingredient of a healthy, collaborative team. Look for candidates who know their own strengths and weaknesses, and can empathize with others—the hallmark of empathy and high EQ.

Your questions here can be straightforward: What about a time you worked on a difficult team? What was your role and experience? What makes you happiest and most effective when working with others? Successful professionals are the ones who make lemonade out of lemons—not the ones who dwell on those frustrations. Listen to how often they use those words respectively. Even if they perform well in other ways, they drag people down and create politics.

In the midst of it all, her grades fell and she had to drop out of college to care for her mother. This trait carries a lot of punch and is an excellent indicator of a whole range of other qualities you want to hire into your company: Empathy, creativity, innovation, the ability to learn quickly—they all spring from curiosity. Start by asking a prospective hire the last thing they really geeked out about. How do they conduct themselves when they interject? Do they send a thoughtful thank-you note following your conversation?

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Do they communicate gracefully and efficiently, saying whip-smart things in the fewest words possible? For this exercise, she keeps the questions simple: What makes you gritty? It also has to be mutual, and by the time questions about ranking the development and financial aspects of the compensation package comes up some basic information about the possibilities should be given to the candidate. I NEED health benefits, for example, but I am powerfully motivated by tuition reimbursement and similar career development support.

I may deserve and the company may benefit from my having access to the company jet, but is that a realistic part of the compensation package.? A little hyperbole here for the sake of making a point in a splashy way! I also see signs of exploiting the labor force pool in this, and depending on how this interview is conducted, and at what point in the process, and with how many candidates—this could be seen as a way to mine candidates for actual work product and ideas that should be done within the scope of a paid position.

Is this interviewer looking for the purple squirrel, and willing to carry on the actual work with a patchwork of contributions while they look for that mythical creature? Meanwhile, I would certainly be engaged by this approach! Whew…I hope you pay interviewees for their time in answering these questions? Or, perhaps, it would be a better idea to pose the questions in an online application form, or allow applicants to take the questionnaire home and work on it there, when or if they have the time between other interviews?

Or, maybe even better, equip likely-looking candidates with the questionnaire, and then appoint them to actually WORK in the position for which they are applying on, e. Nobody ever said corporate had common sense. How much will they be paid during the interim? What if the prospective employee already has a FT position— how are they supposed to have that kind of time to test-run the job?

Interviewers who exclusively use this kind of question are basically screening for candidates who have the greatest capability to spit out BS. How did you plan for and adapt to market changes in the past? Tell me about some conflicts you dealt with and what you did to resolve them. Show me how your technical or job-related expertise served the organization. The job of a hiring manager is largely guesswork. Oh my…bearing in mind that feasible, viable and workable innovative ideas can be worth billions to the companies or individuals that implement them, and that non-innovative companies usually become obsolete.

It is true that recruiters are perhaps the stupidest people on the planet. I have always refused to speak to recruiters, especially since meeting with one who was screening seniormost candidates for a US television network. His question to me, the only one, was a presentation of his theory of what a given cable channel should become as to programming. Yet this jerk has placed the presidents of cable channels. Who all have failed. And I would not make a final decision without several joint session with a specializing psychologist.

By definition a HIGHLY intelligent person would not work in human resources…all this stinks of stupid people trying to make themselves important. Perhaps you should rethink your book title, or proofread your rant before you send it. You have demonstrated that you are not a highly intelligent person yourself. It requires some measure of business judgement, creativity, and flexibility of thought to answer these types of questions.

Perhaps the point that you should take away from the article is that you do not likely possess these qualities. No means of evaluation is foolproof when it comes to hiring decisions.

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Companies do reject some candidates that would be good employees, and hire some who prove not to be. We ARE talking about human beings after all, no one ever fits neatly into a specified box. I was in a hurry at the time but I still stand by the rest of the comments. I felt it was implied that you feel that you are far more intelligent than all the people working in HR.

There are also plenty of very intelligent people working in HR departments around the world. Very well put Dianne. The figures that follow are rounded and not totally accurate but close enough to make the point. If you check up there are about 8 million graduates in the UK…that works out to be about 5 million less intelligent than I am.

I TOOK and passed the test for fast tracking in the civil service 3 times and passed it comfortably 3 times followed by being rejected at interview by people who did not have to reveal their credentials to me. I get very BORED of people downgrading intelligence as NOT proving anything…the vast majority of degrees only prove a persons ability to read, learn and regurgitate information in a manner they have been taught is wanted by the examiner.

What inventions and developments come out of conforming? IF you believe a typo proves a lack of intelligence you have just joined the group of misinformed academics. If you wish me to enlighten you on what being intelligent means …. The less intelligent conform because they know that is how you get on!

The deriding of intelligence is done mainly by academics who KNOW they are not blessed with it. It makes intelligence a poor asset because too many academics do not understand it and so find an excuse to reject it. Because real intelligence always has an essence of wisdom. Real intelligence comes from the most remote areas of your mind and spirit. It means to have the right kind of attitude.

The willingness to listen and understand. The ability to judge and decide.

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Passing some IQ tests wont make u wise or set your way of thinking straight. I can bluntly say that u were rejected for your attitude. It is very important to stay rooted to the ground, no matter what heights u reach. It takes a very special hiring situation and special candidate to fill some positions. HR has become much to much involved and the reasons to not to hire somebody are becoming outrageous. I really think a hiring manager would be better with an interview instead of a HR or Recruiter. The Hiring manager must likely already know if you have what it takes to be a great hire. I got in trouble by asking if the person interviewed smoked.

I find that smokers waste an inordinate amount of time going out to smoke and the rest of the time back at work they are wondering when they can sneak out and smoke another cigarette. In addition some smell so bad from stale smoke that some of my staff cannot stand to be around them.

How about the people who go out for coffee or purposely arrange coffee meetings. These people waste just as much time, if not more…! A person is not a slave to the desk, down time is important! There are those people who have a crooked index finger from holding a coffee cup and I know people who would kill someone over a cup of coffee but that is another story.

The point of my comment was that we are limited from asking some of the more poignant and important questions that could help us weed out the less productive workers before we hire them. I understand where you are coming from and what you want to achieve by weeding out these time and resource wasters. The thing is that self promoting who have the knack to tell you want you want to hear and people who know how to navigate this process, will pull the wool over your eyes time and time again.

It is not until you hire these individuals is when the reality hits and it is too late. Time and time again I have seen people employed and pumped up only to not deliver on the expertise they proclaim to have and spend their days in endless meetings, lunch breaks, Internet surfing etc. As you can guess I have had some frustrating experiences, because of poor interviewing skills by management and associates in hiring poor candidates, creating an ecomical drain on business and employee retention. You hit it on the head. Of course a lot of the time they are Peter Principled to their highest level of incompetence in the organization.

I know majority of people I worked with who were health nuts yet spent more time on gloating about that than me on smoking…. Even if I do then what, are you going to discriminate on that basis too? Some of the questions you have listed are exceptional, however. Nice and thought provoking — thank you for sharing!

John, there are some solid points here! I wanted to add a comment focused on your readers who use recruiters: This advice is valid for your HR, corporate recruiters, or 3rd party recruiters…basically anyone who may round up a breathing candidate. I think you need to get a copywriter to set your questions because to be blunt the actual wording is almost verging on infantile. The actual concept is banal at best. This is just a child like rehash of basic interview skills. If you are a confident individual who has faced daily challenges in the workforce, the questions brought forth to you would be easy to answer.

These questions are highly relevant for the employer to understand what type of person they are hiring. If I was the employer, I would want to know real examples of how you handle situations in your prior work history as well as how you would handle them today.

I recently graduated with a bachelors degree in organizational leadership And had to write a research paper similar to this article. Besides, this article never stated a particular position. So maybe these questions are detrimental to the employer if they want to find the right candidate. Take a chill pill ppl. Disappointed to see the lack of professionalism in the discussion. The article is simple to provide sample questions that allow you to observe and understand the applicants way of thinking, articulating their thoughts and how they problem solve. Self awareness is key for a leaders success and to hire a person who does not even understand how they make decisions or problem solve is a person who lacks self awareness and EQ.

I generally agree with this article, though I would add one process suggestion that may address much of the criticism that appears in the comments. In real-life, employees have time to conduct due diligence, think, analyze, write, plan, and present. Interview recording All the best interviewing is useless if it has not been adequately recorded, so it is important to ensure good recording conditions. In an open-ended interview it is difficult to make notes on everything during the interview. The best approach in team-work is to appoint a scribe, i. How long one waits before writing up full field-notes depends on the setting, and the interviewer's personal style but it should be borne in mind that an interviewer's memory is limited.

It is surprising how facts, ideas and important observations that one thinks one will never forget quickly slip away. Half of the details from an interview can be forgotten within 24 hours, three-quarters can be lost within 2 days and after this only skeletal notes can be salvaged. Jotted notes will help prompt memory later, but it is best to write up interview notes while they are still fresh in the interviewer's mind after the interview or at the end of the interviewing day.

A tape recorder can often be useful. It can also enable data to be left until such time as analysis can be applied more rigorously and in a more leisurely way. It should be borne in mind, however, that not everyone likes to be tape-recorded. If taping is contemplated the respondents' permission should be sought first. Sources of error and bias In personal interviews there are many ways in which 'errors' can be made by both the respondent and the interviewer, and this can lead to 'bias' in the results.

The objective of the interviewer should be to minimise the likelihood of such bias arising. Respondent induced bias Faulty memory: Some respondents may answer a question incorrectly simply because they have a poor memory. The key to avoiding this problem is to steer clear of questions requiring feats of memory. For example, questions such as, "Can you tell me what your crop yield was four years ago? Other aspects of faulty memory that were mentioned in the previous chapter were telescoping and creation.

There can be a tendency on the part of some respondents to exaggerate claims about their conditions and problems if they think it will further their cause and lead to improvement in their well-being. The interviewer must be alert to, and note any, inconsistencies arising. This is best achieved by checking key pieces of information with a variety of sources. Failure to answer questions correctly: If rapport is not developed sufficiently, the respondent may be unwilling to respond or fail to give sufficient attention or consideration to the questions asked, and if the respondent does not understand a question properly he may give inappropriate answers.

The interviewer needs to ensure that the respondent fully understands the questions being asked and is responding in the appropriate context. Misunderstanding purpose of interview: Some respondents may perceive the purpose of the survey to be a long-winded form of 'selling', particularly if the interviewer is asking them what they think about a new product. Their comments, therefore, about such issues as 'propensity to purchase' need to be looked at within a context where they may be expecting to have to buy the product at some stage and are trying to strike a hard bargain.

To avoid such problems arising it is important to carefully explain the objectives of the survey, the identity of the interviewer and sponsor, and what is required of the respondent, prior to the interview proper. Influence of groups at interview: During interviews the presence of other individuals is almost inevitable. Most of the time other family members or neighbours will wish to join in the discussion.

Such a situation has can have important implications for the type of data obtained. In circumstances where the presence of third parties cannot be avoided, the interviewer must ensure as far as possible that the answers being given are the honest opinions of the individual being interviewed. The interviewer must again be alert to inconsistencies and closely observe and monitor the way in which the respondent is reacting and interacting with those around him.

In interview situations it is quite possible that one will come across the problem of courtesy bias, i. The respondents may not wish to be impolite or to offend the interviewer, and may therefore endeavour to give 'polite' answers. Courtesy bias can be an obstacle to obtaining useful and reliable data and therefore needs to be minimised. Generally, however, the creation of a good interview environment and an appropriate relationship between the interviewer and the respondent can help avoid too much courtesy bias arising: Bias induced by interviewer It is also possible for the interviewer him or herself to introduce bias into an interview, and this must be avoided at all costs.

Desire to help the respondent: The interviewer may become too sympathetic to the problems and conditions of the respondent, and this can affect the conduct of, and results obtained from, the interview. Objectivity must be retained at all times. Failure to follow instructions in administering the questions: It is often tempting for the interviewer to change the wording of a question or introduce inflections in questions.

Particular problems may arise if the respondent does not understand the question as stated and the interviewer tries to simplify the question. The altered wording may constitute a different question. When questions are open-ended, this can involve the interviewer in formulating probing questions that go beyond the printed words. Unless the probes follow instructions faithfully the potential for bias is great. When respondents give answers, the interviewer must be careful not to 'react. Interviewers must respond with a uniform polite interest only.

Focus group interviews Focus group interviews are a survey research instrument which can be used in addition to, or instead of, a personal interview approach. It has particular advantages for use in qualitative research applications. The central feature of this method of obtaining information from groups of people is that the interviewer strives to keep the discussion led by a moderator focused upon the issue of concern.

The moderator behaves almost like a psycho-therapist who directs the group towards the focus of the researcher. In doing so, the moderator speaks very little, and encourages the group to generate the information required by stimulating discussion through terse provocative statements. Characteristics of focus group interviews The groups of individuals e.

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Usually between 6 and 8 participants are involved and the discussion would last between 1 and 2 hours. Small groups tend to lose the mutual stimulation among participants, whilst large groups can be difficult to manage and may prevent some participants having the opportunity to get fully involved in the discussion. The researcher raises issues for discussion, following a 'guide list of topics' rather than a structured questionnaire. The participants are encouraged to discuss the issues amongst themselves and with the researcher in an informal and relaxed environment.

The researcher records comments made by the participants usually utilising a tape or video recorder. Generally from the first interview on an unfamiliar subject the researcher will learn a great deal. The second and third interviews will produce more information, but not all of it will not be new. By the fourth interview most of what is revealed will have been covered before, and the diminishing returns involved would generally not justify the cost of further groups.

The participants within a focus group are selected in such a way that they exhibit a high degree of homogeneity with respect to either background, behaviour or both. Consider, for example, a study carried out by a small African nation that is looking for a niche market for a new range of sparkling wines.


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It is decided that, as a first step, a series of focus groups be conducted. The researchers are keen to ensure that each group comprises people who are similar in age and behaviour with respect to wine consumption. Do you or does anyone in your household work in any of the following professions: Yes terminate and tally No continue 2. Have you participated in a group discussion, survey, or been asked to test any products for market research purposes in the past 6 months? Yes terminate and tally No continue 3.

Yes terminate and tally No continue 4. Are you currently under medical treatment which prevents you from drinking wine at the present time? Yes terminate and tally No continue 5. Next I am going to read you a list of statements about drinking wine.

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Please tell me if any of the following statements apply to yourself. Circle the letters that appear alongside the statements that apply to you. I prefer sparkling wines to any other type. I often drink sparkling wines although it is not my preferred type of wine. I only occasionally drink sparkling wine. I have tried sparkling wine and did not like it so I never drink it. I have never tried sparkling wine. Which of the following groups include your age? Sex by observation Male check quotas Female check quotas The first two questions will eliminate those who are likely to be too aware of the focus group process and distracted from the research topic.

Questions 3 and 4 prevent those whose experience of wine consumption is not sufficiently recent from taking part. Question 5 would enable the researcher to allocate prospective participants to homogeneous groups. Thus, for example, there may be a group comprised entirely of people whose favourite wine is one of the sparkling wines. Other groups would be made up of people who have never tried sparkling wine and another may involve those who have tried and rejected sparkling wine.

Clearly, the line of questioning would be different in emphasis for each of these groups. One has a choice of three different types of venue for group interviews, each having particular advantages and problems.