Interview questions to die for

Sourced from a number of articles.  I started with one article then it grew…..

Our comment: 

When a study shows that about 30% of new mangers and executives fail at their new jobs and leave within 18 months (Right Management Consultants’ 2005 report – per Psychology Today , you know that unless you are super human, you probably need to smarten up what you are  doing to hire the right people for the right job.
It is even more frightening to read Research published in the Harvard Business Review indicates that it takes a new mid-level manager at least 6 months to reach the break even point even in an organization where they are a good fit and have a good chance of success.(again, sourced from an article on onboarding in Pyschology Today
It doesn’t end with the interview but it does make sense to make the most of the interview.  Not all of these interview questions may work for you. But we are sure you will gain some interesting insights into how others weed out the grain from the chaff.

It is reality that interviews don’t always uncover all the aspects of a potential hire you need to know about.
In fact research shows an interview contributes just 25%
to the prospects of hiring the right person for the right job.  And,
over 75% of interviewers don’t change their mind after
the first 36 seconds of an interview (or some precise statistic like
that.  In other words, that handshake and initial smile or lack thereof
are hard to get past).
Companies that do a lot of hiring and get it right more often than not employ a mix of techniques including:
  • Good interview techniques
    • Remember, there are at least 4 options on interview day –
      the interviewer can be on or off his game and the candidate can be on or
      off his game.
  • Profiling of candidates to make sure they find out:
    • Can the person do the job – it is always important for the
      person to have the basic ability to do what you need them to do
      (incredible as it may seem but the level of schooling achieved is not
      necessarily a good predictor of this!)
    • How will they do the job – this assists with how the person will fit in with the rest of the team.
    • Will they want to do the job – this allows you to assess whether they will be likely to stick around for the longer term.
  • Background checking:
    • Resumes are great – but statistically, a lot of us lie when
      it comes to saying what we have done, where we have done it and for how
      long we have done it (keep it clean!).
    • Social media, this new chestnut, is proving a headache for many businesses today when it comes to hiring.
  • Job experience:
    • Probably a winner if you can organise it (that’s why we have
      probationary periods) but, it can lead to a stop start hiring process
      (not always ideal).
  • on-boarding programs
    • As surprising as it might seem, new employees like to be
      made to feel part of the team.  A Johnson & Johnson study found an
      ROI of 1400% for their onboarding program.  If this sounds impressive,
      you probably need to do some more research on this topic.

Interestingly, if you have a good interview technique, a good profiling
tool and a good background checking process then your success rate of
hiring the right person for the right job climbs up to over 75%, with
the bulk of that improvement coming from a good profiling tool.

Our free plug: 

It might surprise you to know that we have what is probably one of the leading profiling tools.  It is rigorous in its methodology (always important for what is basically a psych tool), it has a very high test/re-test result (i.e. it shows a very high degree of consistency of results over time); and importantly, it is written for you and me – not a highly paid psychologist. And, it is tested in the Australian market (each country has its own testing processes before a test can go ‘live’).

And it is very cost effective – a fraction of the cost of hiring the wrong person.  And it is easy to use.  Give us a call to find out more about Profiles 1300 783 3091300 783 309 or

Now,,,, back to the questions…. Mark Barros Mark’s bio:  Mark is the co-founder of Moment, amazing lenses for your mobile phone. Prior to Moment, Marc was a co-founder and former CEO of Contour, a hands-free camera company that makes action video easy to capture and share. Shortly after graduating from the University of Washington, Marc co-founded Contour in 2004 and led the organization from a garage to a multimillion dollar company with hundreds of thousands of customers around the world.

So how can you find the right leader? start by asking one simple question

“Tell me about the last person you fired.”

Of all the ways I interviewed executive candidates, this question and the discussion that followed proved to be the strongest indicator of the candidate’s leadership ability.

If he says, “I haven’t fired anyone,” it’s obvious this person’s a bad fit. You can’t build a great team without occasionally deconstructing and rebuilding it. And while every leader makes mistakes, if he can’t admit, correct, or move on from them, you don’t want him or her at your start-up.

If the candidate did fire someone, then find out how it happened. As the story unfolds you will learn something key: how well he or she communicates. If he says the candidate was surprised, find out why. More likely than not, he did a poor job of communicating where the employee stood, which is hard to do, but awfully necessary.

If he says the candidate wasn’t surprised, let him walk you through the termination process. Great leaders are often like coaches, providing consistent and honest feedback. Do you find the candidate fits this description?

Be sure to find out why the employee didn’t work out. Explore what mistakes were made in the hiring process and how they fixed those mistakes afterward. You want a self-reflective leader who is constantly evaluating himself as well as his processes.

Before the story is finished, ask one final question, “What did you do after they were let go?” This will show you their level of empathy. Average leaders tend to do the bare minimum, offering severance and a positive reference. But great leaders often do what they can to help the ex-employee get back on his feet.

Pay attention to body language, as you want leaders who make quick decisions and follow through. At the same time you don’t want a robot, so if he shows no emotion, think twice about hiring. That’s not to say leading without emotion is a bad thing, but it certainly isn’t for everyone.

Best Interview Questions Ever

(humble isn’t it!) 

Sourced from an article in Openview Labs

Ten leading tech founders and CEOs share their favorite interview questions for picking out the best from the rest.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you?”

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos  Source: Quartz qz.comIt’s all about the candidate’s reaction to the bizarre question. The Zappos CEO says, “Our whole belief is that everyone is a little weird somehow, so it’s really more just a fun way of saying that we really recognize and celebrate each person’s individuality, and we want their true personalities to shine in the workplace environment.”

“What book do you think everyone on the team should read?”

Dharmesh Shah, Co-founder & CTO of HubSpot  Source: OnStartups

It’s a red flag if the candidate can’t think of a single answer. “Most great people always have had a book that they found to be super-useful and like sharing with others,” Shah says. If a candidate can’t think of a single book, it’s likely he/she doesn’t enjoy reading or believe books are useful for learning. Both instances, Shah says, are worrisome.

“What’s your superpower or what’s your spirit animal?”

Ryan Holmes, Founder & CEO of HootSuite  Source: Fast Company

The silly question can give you insight into the candidate’s character. When Holmes asked his current executive assistant the question, she described herself as a duck because “ducks are calm on the surface and hustling like crazy getting thing done under the surface.” He says the amazing answer was a “perfect description for the role of an EA.”

“How lucky do you consider yourself?”

Jenn Hyman, Co-founder & CEO of Rent The Runway  Source: Fashionista

This behavior question helps weed out candidates that may be toxic to your culture. As Hyman says, “appreciative people bring positivity to every interaction–a quality that is critical at a start-up.”

“What do you know is true that no one else agrees upon?”

Peter Thiel, Co-founder of PayPal  Source: Elite Daily

Pair the question with, “What is a great business that no one has conquered?” Thiel asks young entrepreneurs these questions because “You’re going to start a business you might as well try to start one where, if it works, it will be really successful, rather than one where you’re competing like crazy with thousands of people who are doing something just like you.”

“Think of something you’ve done in the past: What would you have done differently?”

Paul Maritz, CEO of Pivotal Source: New York Times

The answer will tell you if the candidate is thoughtful or self-aware. Maritz says if the candidate gives you an in-depth answer, it tells you “that this person thinks deeply and is honest enough to really be objective.”

 “What are three things that really bother you but that most people don’t seem to mind? AND What are three things that you love and take great pleasure in that most people don’t like?”

Rand Fishkin, Founder of Moz Source: Rand’s Blog at

It’s okay to break out of the formality of the interview. Fishkin says that in addition to testing the candidate’s authenticity, the question also lets you see if your potential new hire is a value fit for your team.

“What was the first experience in your life when you realized you had the power to do something meaningful?”

Simon Anderson, CEO of DreamHost Source: Business Insider never know what answer you’ll get with an open-ended question. Maybe the candidate will tell you a story from when they were five or from their teenage years, Simon says. “If someone sits there and they’re stumped, I think that tells you something.”

“How much money would you leave us for?”

Ilya Pozin, Founder of Ciplex Source: Inc.

This provacative question weeds out candidates who just aren’t that passionate about your company. Pozin says a great candidate will say he/she values a fulfilling job over money, a mediocre candidate will say double or triple the salary, and a bad candidate will choose less than double the salary.

“What questions do you have for me?”

Scott Dorsey, CEO of ExactTarget Source: Inc.
Timing is key with this classic question. “I love asking this question really early in the interview,” Dorsey says. “It shows me whether the candidate can think quickly on their feet, and also reveals their level of preparation.”

The best and worst interview questions

They asked Inc. users and HR experts to share what questions to ask and which ones to avoid.

“What can I tell you about what we’re doing here?”

The quality of questions candidates ask you speaks volumes about their interest, curiosity level, and overall knowledge about your company. Do they really want to work for your company, or are they simply looking for any job they can find? As Jason Fried of 37signals points out , you want to screen out people who ask “how” questions, and hire independent thinkers who ask “why?”

“Describe a situation in which you had to work with a difficult person.”

“I like this question as it represents a behavioral approach to interviewing, which I find more productive than standard interview questions, such as ‘have you ever worked with a difficult person?’,” says Moskowitz. Behavioral interviewing, he says, is more indicative of future performance than traditional interviewing. Be sure to follow up with a question on the outcome of the situation.

 “Do you volunteer within the community?”

Extracurricular activities can reveal volumes about a candidate. Certain jobs, such as volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, can allude to traits such as physical strength, the ability to work alone, and, in the case of fundraising, exhibit trustworthiness with money. “However, you must be careful not to specifically ask what organizations (except professional) the applicant may belong to,” says Moskowitz. Asking a direct question could potentially reveal information about national origin or religious affiliations. “The interviewer should not comment on the organization or ask the applicant what his/her relationship is to the organization, but rather the service that is being performed and what the applicant is getting out of it.”

“What weakness has most impacted your ability to succeed at your career?”

Why wait until their one-year anniversary with the company before you have candidates perform a self-evaluation? Often, what potential employees think of their own abilities is what will be reflected in their work performance to some degree. Chronically tardy employees are usually bad at meeting deadlines. The good news is that they’re already aware of the problem. The goal is to make you aware and to implement a system to curb their detrimental habits if they are, in fact, worth hiring despite their shortcomings.

 “What’s something you’re passionate about?”

This is an excellent question that has a tendency to catch people a little off guard. If the candidate answers timidly or unenthusiastically, run. If the person is able to effectively communicate what he is interested in and makes you interested, chances are he is a smart and passionate person – the type you’re looking for.

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