“Can you tell me about your strengths and weaknesses?” If you’ve conducted an interview, chances are you’ve watched the fear creep into the candidate’s eyes as you pull this interview question out the bag. The good news is, you can put this one, and its corresponding fumbling answers, to pasture. The workplace has changed, and in order to procure top talent, so should your interview techniques.
These are 5 interview questions you should be asking instead – and why.
1. How would you ideally balance working remotely / in-office?
Remote and/or hybrid work is here to stay. It’s therefore important to ask candidates about their preferred work situation and to see if their ideals fit in with the job they are applying for. If they already work remotely, ask if they have everything set-up, for example a stable internet or a private home office, in order to work productively. If this would be a first time remote or hybrid role for the candidate, it would be valid for you to ask the candidate what their plan is for working remotely. That way you could ascertain if they intended to head to a busy coffee shop each day or sit at their kitchen table. Asking these sorts of questions will give you an idea of how much thought the candidate has given to the practicalities of remote or hybrid work.
It’s also important to understand the candidate’s ability to thrive in a remote or hybrid working environment. Extraverts may miss the chance for face-to-face socialising, but would happily embrace virtual teamwork in the absence of in-person contact. Introverts, who generally prefer working alone, may adapt quicker to the remote environment and find it less distracting but may shy away from virtual socialising or teamwork. If you can discern the personality type of the candidate, you’ll know what kind of managerial style they’ll need and what kind of work style to expect.
2. What skills do you have, which aren’t listed on your CV?
Within the last two years upskilling has become quite a buzzword. With the shift to remote work, employees found themselves with a large amount of time saved, time which was previously spent on commuting or in-office socialising. This question gives you an idea of how the candidate may have used this time. Upskilling in the current market is of the utmost importance. Candidates, especially those who have been out of work for some time, should strive to stay at the forefront of their chosen industry so that they don’t fall behind and find themselves in a vulnerable position.
It’s also worth noting, the skill set that made an employee successful in the past is not necessarily the same as it is today. While you may be interviewing the candidate based on their credentials, when asking this question also listen out for answers which list soft skills which will make them successful in this rapidly changing work world. Things like strong communication skills and a flexible approach to teamwork can be just as valuable as acquiring a new digital skill.
3. What does your ideal office culture look like?
This question is a great way to gauge if the candidate will be a good fit with your office culture. When you’re intentional about culture fit, you seek new employees whose values align with your company’s. Bear in mind, a culture fit does not mean your focus should only be on hiring employees who all share the same background and experiences as yourself. You should retain a focus on diversity, as a diverse workforce is a strong workforce. Female employees, as well as employees from different cultures have a lot of value to add from their unique backgrounds and experiences.
4. Are you self-motivated / How do you motivate yourself?
A self-motivator who doesn’t need prodding or constant hand holding and supervision is of the utmost importance to a remote team manager. If you can hire a self-motivated employer, you will be freeing up managers who won’t have to spend hours each month chasing them over deadlines or propping them up with praise and recognition. A few follow up questions to help gauge self-motivation in a candidate include: ‘Have you learnt or implemented any techniques in a past role which made your job easier or made your work more productive?’ And, ‘If you have a task to do which is repetitive, how do you motivate yourself to complete it timeously?’
5. Give one negative and one positive that you can draw from the last two years?
The last two years have left very few people unaffected, either professionally or personally. As an employer you wouldn’t expect a candidate to be immune to the unavoidable, but what you are looking out for is resilience. This question is useful to gauge how the candidate will cope with setbacks and if they have the necessary grit to fulfil the role they are interviewing for.
If the last while has taught us anything, it’s that the future is unpredictable. The best you can do is hire staff members who are agile, skilled, self-motivated and hard working. That way you build a future-fit team who can handle whatever comes their way. If you’re ready to start interviewing, load a job today and let our RecruitMyMom team of expert Recruitment Managers shortlist the top candidates for you to interview.
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