3 probing questions you should ask every candidate.

April Sabral

/ Leadership

Last week, a leader I know texted me on Wednesday morning to ask me if I had a list of interview questions. She had an interview coming up and required a list of great questions to ask her potential hire. There are 3 questions you should ask every candidate. When you learn how to use them you will be able to assess top potential candidates easily. While working at Apple I was fortunate to be trained through Lominger Interview Architect. However, I believe asking questions go far beyond recruiting,  Being a skilled questioner is a leadership superpower. One of my favourite things to do when chatting with other leaders is to ask them what their favourite 3 questions are.

Meet Dan D’Urbano, from www.mvtalent.ca

Picture of Dan Urbano recruiter

Here’s what Dan had to say about interviewing candidates.

“Good interview questions, in my opinion, are more so how you probe when having an open conversation with a candidate. Usually, we only have about an hour or so to understand a candidate’s intentions and aspirations and getting them to feel comfortable is my main priority. The more comfortable they are, the more info they share transparently. That being said, I usually like to start an interview by asking a candidate to tell me about themselves, and from there I’ll jot down the main points they mention and then begin to probe.

I ALWAYS ask candidates to talk about their key accomplishments both professionally and personally because it gives me an indication of WHO the candidate is (and their interests/passions) rather than just WHAT they do. In the end, we’re hiring people, and therefore understanding who they are is the most crucial part of my job. You can teach anyone the technical aspects of a role, but seldom are we able to change their personality. Therefore, I always start with any questions related to soft traits and then from there try and understand the candidate’s technical expertise and then evaluate the candidate holistically considering the points mentioned above”.

Behavioural questions are also beneficial – any questions that get a candidate to provide examples of how they worked through an issue or conflict in a past job is always beneficial. Any question where a “real-life” example is given is good.” Dan is spot on!

I think the better interview questions you have, the more equipped you will be for those moments when you may not be as prepared as you would like, like my friend last week. This is why I am sharing my list of great interview questions; the best thing about this list is the probes. Exactly what Dan shared probes can make or break an interview for me. These are my favourite probes to use in an interview or in general conversation. There are 3 questions you should ask every candidate. You will learn a lot about a person by asking these.

  1. How did you approach it?
  2. What was the outcome?
  3. Why did you make that decision?
    And finally, did it work? What did you learn from that situation?

If you need more than just interview questions, you could try emailing Dan to help you with your recruitment needs. dan@mvtalent.ca. Want to gain access to my list of excellent interview questions that I have been using for over ten years, click HERE Anyone that knows me will know how passionate I am about asking questions because you only get answers to the questions you ask.

Learn the 7 secrets of successful interviews in this BLOG POST
two girls in a retail store

Do you wish you had more leadership development? Check this out.

If you are a manager who is always holding interviews but feels you never get a ton of insight into the person your interviewing, maybe you should rethink the questions your asking. Check out the links in this post, they are full of helpful tools and resources.

Thanks for reading,

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Welcome To My Blog

Hi I’m April Sabral, Founder & President of retailu.ca

I started my retail career over 20 years ago and always get asked how did I become a Senior Executive? I put it down to three things.

    • Hardwork
    • Mentorship
    • Attitude

I had amazing mentors and leaders along the way that helped me develop my own leadership style. And I worked really hard.This blog is where I share lessons learned, leadership tips and practical skills that can be used when managing any team. I hope this inspires you to be the best boss you can be.

April Sabral

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