Six of the best questions for sounding out the perfect candidate

1) ‘When was the last time you embraced change outside of the workplace?’

In business, the ability to adapt to change is of utmost importance. This could mean anything from changing work hours or offices to embracing new technologies and working strategies. The candidate’s response doesn’t have to be related to work; it could be moving to a new house, buying a new car, or even embracing a new hairstyle! The important factor to consider is how they coped with change and turned a new experience in to a positive one.

2) ‘Describe your perfect working environment’

Do they prefer open plan offices or working from home? Do they love team bonding activities with work colleagues or head home as soon as the working day has ended? The answers to these questions will tell you if they fit in with your work culture.

3) ‘Who would you invite to a dinner party and why?’

Reading between the lines, what you’re really asking is: ‘who inspires you and what are your interests?’ Maybe your candidate is impressed by success, glamour and fame? Or maybe they are are a deep-thinking literary type? Try and establish why the dinner guests were chosen and what they’d ask them, then consider what it says about the applicant as a person. Remember, this isn’t an exact science, however it may offer an insight into how the candidate might gel with the rest of the team – even if this team doesn’t include Theresa May or Taylor Swift!

4) ‘Tell me about a time you turned a negative into a positive’

An updated version of the old favourite: ‘tell me about a time you’ve overcome adversity’. This question establishes if a candidate is able to face difficult situations and make them work in their favour and allows those with a positive attitude to shine through.

5) ‘How would your friends describe you in one word?’

If you are clear on the character traits that define your company, you can gain a good deal of insight on the suitability of a candidate from their answer to this question.

6) ‘Finally, tell me about one of your proudest achievements in life’

This question is useful on several levels: firstly, everyone enjoys recalling moments of pride and what they tell you will be a key indicator of what really matters to them and how this will translate in a work environment.

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