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I’m A Hiring Manager—Here Are Five Questions I Always Ask Job Candidates

Source | FastCompany : BY JESS GREENWOOD

Job interviews can be really unpleasant for interviewers and candidates alike. A 30-minute chat sandwiched between a busy hiring manager’s afternoon meetings isn’t always the best way to get to know somebody, let alone judge their fit for an open role.

But over my past few years in the hiring seat, I’ve developed a set of five go-to questions that are easy to ask within the space of a half hour and still lead to revealing answers. Together, they give me a pretty comprehensive idea of who an individual is, how well they know their craft, how quick they are on their feet, and whether I’d be happy to see them every day.

And over time, I’ve found that asking this same set of questions has helped me get a sense for how everyone is performing against the same criteria, which means I can make apples-to-apples comparisons. The people who knock their job interviews out of the park are invariably the ones we hire, and who go on to thrive. Here are the five questions I always ask:


Why it works: This question allows you to get a sense of the individual’s working process, whether they can lead and contribute, and how enthusiastic they are. It also lets you know their perception of quality. They might choose to talk about a student project (if they’re just starting out), a global integrated campaign, or a startup that they founded or contributed to.

I tend to spend the most amount of time digging into a candidate’s answer to this question–usually I’ll allot 10 minutes to discussing it, whereas the subsequent four only take five minutes apiece–probing for the specifics, and pulling up the work they’re talking about on the internet.

Answers that work: A detailed walk-through of the project that outlines their sources of data, inspiration, challenges and triumphs, along with a clear explanation of why it was successful and why they were proud of it.

Answers that suck: An inability to explain their processes, or an eagerness to say that the thing that didn’t happen was the fault of the client/the creative director/the universe–anyone else but themselves.

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