We’ve all been there: that interview with the stale questions and canned answers that give each participant precisely zero information about who the other is and whether this opportunity is a fit for the candidate (and vice versa) or not. We can do better! 

Develop interview questions that allow the candidate to be honest and authentic with you and that target the capability, value, or competency you’re trying to understand. As an example, our Y Scouts core values are Drive Results, Learn Relentlessly, Develop Others, and Gratefulness. The following are questions crafted to investigate each value. 

Drive Results:

  • Describe a time when, against all odds, you were able to achieve a result. What obstacles did you face? What impact did those obstacles have?
  • Tell me about a time when your ability to pick up on a business or industry change allowed you to make changes to capitalize on the dynamic.

Learn Relentlessly:

  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned recently? How did you learn it? What impact has that learning had?
  • Give an example of a time when you received new information that led you to change your perspective. Now tell me about a time when, in spite of new information, you held to your prior conviction.

Develop Others:

  • Tell me about someone you’ve coached and mentored. What did you do to support them? What did they accomplish as a result of your support?
  • Give me a specific example of a time when you encouraged a direct report to make decisions within their area of responsibility. What happened?

Gratefulness:

  • When was the last time someone helped you? What did they do? What impact did their help have on you?
  • Who or what has inspired you recently?

Try these questions in your next interview. Or, better yet, use these examples as a thought-starter to develop your own questions based on the specific values and needs of your organization and the role you’re filling. Those targeted questions will give you more insight into the person behind the resume and facilitate a more productive conversation. Both you and the candidate will have a better experience, and you’ll make better hiring decisions.

Let me know which interview questions give you the best information about a candidate or the best questions you’ve been asked during an interview!