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As somebody who has been through more interviews than anybody I know, I’ve been asked every question in the book.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Why do you want to work here?
What do you know about the company?
What makes you believe you will be successful?
Why are you looking to leave your current job?
I got to the point where I had premeditated responses to every possible question. In fact, I used to practice my pauses out loud so that during the actual interview, it sounded like I was giving deep thought to my answers.
Whatever question you ask a candidate during an interview, there’s at least a 90% chance they’ve answered the same question many times before.
Does this mean that interviews are pointless? No, not at all. However, I recommend trying other tactics that candidates can’t fake their way through.
Here are three strategies that I regularly use and highly recommend:
I recently had a candidate who wanted to speak to me and continually followed up via email and phone. I admired his persistence and told him to call me at 10:00 AM.
At 10:07 AM, my phone rang and I didn’t answer it. He left a voicemail and e-mailed me but I decided not to send him to the interview.
If he was seven minutes late for an important phone interview, how could I rely on him to be on time for an in person interview or to show up to an important client meeting on time?
Don’t ask the typical questions that you find on Monster, CareerBuilder, or by Googling “Interview Questions.”
Instead, explain an actual situation that other people in the role face and ask how they would handle it.
These situational questions will give you a much better idea of who they are rather than asking their strengths and weaknesses.
This is the most underrated interview tactic out there and is the real test of who they are. Does the candidate remain professional or let down his or her guard?
If you haven’t tried this before, you won’t believe what candidates will say, even the ones who seem so professional during the interview.
I’ve heard, “I can’t believe I made it to the interview on time. I was so drunk last night.”
Another candidate started swearing and his professionalist quickly went out the door.
Finally, my favorite was a candidate who told me about how she got arrested.
These are things that would’ve never come up during an office interview and all three of these candidates lost any chance they had at the job.
If they were going to behave like this after an hour of meeting with me, I would be very reluctant to send them out to meet a major client.
Most candidates tend to let their guard down if they are having lunch with people whom they view to be their peers. Therefore, I would suggest asking some of your team members who are approximately the same age as the candidate to go to lunch together.
I hope some of these tactics help you during your next round of interviews. If you have any relevant experiences, I would love to hear them. Please feel free to post them on the comments section of my blog or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.