Not only are our Recruiters and corporate staff experts on evaluating talent on behalf of our clients, they are also seasoned professionals that manage their own teams and routinely interview internal candidates. We asked them for their go-to questions when talking to prospective employees seeking a job in staffing. Although each has their favorite inquiry, it’s not surprising that all the questions are open-ended, prompting the opportunity for follow-up dialogue.
Here’s what they’re asking:
Question: What’s motivating your search?
My main goal on an internal interview is to understand the motivating factors in the candidate’s search. I generally ask open-ended or context-based questions because I want to understand how a candidate is evaluating not only a job in staffing, but our opportunity.
I usually start an interview by asking what the circumstances were that compelled the candidate to apply for our open role. What was the thought process that led to them to interviewing for our company? What types of roles are they considering other than ours? I will tell them that agency recruiting is a life of ups and downs, and ask them what keeps them going when things don’t go their way at work.
A successful candidate at our agency is resilient and able to focus on the big picture when they have a soft spot in their week/month. Usually the answers to those questions provides follow-up opportunities to explain the role in more detail. I want to have a conversation with a prospective employee to understand why they’re interested in our open role. It also allows me to get a sense of whether we can offer some of the things they are looking for in their search.
Question: Name 3 adjectives your supervisor or colleague would use to describe you?
I like asking this question because it makes the interviewee think. Most candidates are prepared for the question “What are 3 adjectives you would use to describe yourself?” but this question has the candidate thinking about how others view them.
Question: What would your previous supervisor say you need to work on?
This is similar to the “What is your biggest weakness?” question, but I feel it allows for a better, more honest response. This question allows the interviewee to share a real story versus saying the canned “I work too hard” and “I have a hard time delegating.”
Question: What do you think will make a person successful in this position?
This is a question I ask toward the end of an interview for several reasons, including:
- It shows me the candidate’s listening skills. What do they think the role is about? Listening skills are crucial for jobs in staffing, and Recruiters need to be able to retain and reiterate accurate information.
- It’s an open-ended question with no right or wrong answer. It gives me some insight into the candidate’s personality and what they will focus on in a recruiting position.
- Their answer shows me if they have a realistic understanding of the position. What do they think will be easy or challenging about the role based on their answer?
- How they respond also shows whether they can see themselves in the role.
This question is also a great segue into follow-up questions. Based on their answer, it allows me to dig into where they might do very well or where they would need improvement.
Question: What do you like most about your current job?
This is one of my go-to questions because there isn’t a correct answer. Instead, I am really trying to start dialogue and uncover what they like and what motives them. Often when I ask this question, I will learn what they do not like, which can help determine if they are suited for a job in staffing.
Ninety percent of the time I find this question to be helpful. Even if the response isn’t relatable to the role, it still helps me to get an understanding of their thought process and what they find important.
Question: What is the most important thing to you in your next opportunity?
I like this question because it gives me an idea of where the candidate is coming from. Typically, they answer with what they are lacking in their current role. Is it the commute? Work/life balance? Cultural fit? More collaboration? More autonomy? Money?
There is no right or wrong answer, but it really makes the candidate think about whether a job in staffing will be a good fit for them and gives me the opportunity to learn about what is important to them in their next role.
Question: Would you rather work on one large account or 20 small accounts?
Similarly to the queries above, there isn’t a correct answer to this question, but it’s one of my favorites to ask as a candidate’s response is a significant indicator of their style of work.
Someone choosing a large account could prefer being focused on one task, have a penchant for project and people management and need an environment that lends itself to concentration. They could be an introvert that really likes to dig into the details, or an extrovert that wants to seek multiple opinions and the recognition that comes with a large initiative.
The person choosing multiple small accounts may be more creative, enjoy being a go-to resource, relish organization or need to have a defined end to tasks. They may also be seeking additional experience or feel a desire to prove themselves from the start.
Not only will the answer to this question help you determine if the candidate is a fit for your team and the work they will contribute, but it will help you manage them and ensure their future success.
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