Tell me about yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
Do these questions sound familiar? These are some of the typical cliché interview questions that many employers are required to ask, yet many interviewers find difficult to analyze. More importantly, today’s market is flooded with job seekers – making it difficult for business owners to decide who to hire.
For business owners, knowing how to analyze responses to these questions will make it easier for you to decide which applicant is best suited for your open position.
Here are some of the most cliché interview questions with tips for business owners to analyze.
1. Tell me about yourself
This is a great way to gauge an interviewer’s professionalism. Do they talk about enjoying movies or completing difficult tasks? Also remember to keep in mind that candidates will be nervous, especially at the beginning of an interview. If a candidate stumbles over words, try not to focus too intensely on it. Instead, focus on the content of what they are saying and if it relates to your open position.
2. What are your biggest strengths?
Listen for detail and do not be afraid to question the responses candidates give. For instance, if a candidate says they have advanced computer skills, ask them to give examples of what programs they have used in the past and for what purpose. This will help you determine if a candidate is being honest about their skill set. Do not feel limited to the predetermined questions you have – if you feel you need to ask them more questions for more information, feel free to do so.
3. What is your biggest weakness?
It is important to know the real weaknesses of a candidate you may hire, so listen for honesty. If the candidate states a weakness, but does not elaborate, ask them how they are managing their weakness and making improvements. Not only will this help you uncover if they are being honest, but it also shows you if they are actively working to make improvements. Be sure to keep in mind that everyone has weaknesses, so it is not only about which candidate possesses the least amount of weaknesses – it is also about which candidate can understand their weaknesses and how to improve them.
4. How do you handle conflict?
Use this opportunity to determine if a candidate has the ability to handle themselves professionally in conflict, manage stress, and can decide and implement the best courses of action to take to resolve conflict. This is a lot to uncover during one response, but listen carefully and ask the candidate why they chose their particular course of action to end the conflict. You can also ask them what were some other ways they could have resolved their issue, and why they did not choose those options. This will give you a solid understanding of their conflict resolution, stress management, decision, and implementation skills.
5. Why should we hire you?
Look for passion during a candidate’s response. Are they genuinely interested in your position and company, or are they just attending another interview to get a job? Also be aware of vague, routine answers. If you own a restaurant, you don’t want to get the same, vague response a candidate can give to a technology company. So if this happens, ask the candidate to elaborate. Not only will this give the candidate an extra opportunity to impress you, but you will also learn how well the candidate thinks and communicates on the spot.
6. Do you have any questions for me?
Take this opportunity to determine if the candidate is truly considering your needs as well as theirs. If the candidate is only asking questions in regards to benefits they will receive, be cautious. Either they are not considering the company’s needs, or they did not put in much effort to prepare questions they may have (which may indicate they are not serious about the position).