This is part four of a 12-part series.
Creating a successful and productive team starts with finding great employees who fit your organizational culture. And while you may receive hundreds of job applications and interested parties, narrowing down the talent pool to hire the right candidate for the job goes beyond what hiring managers can surmise by reading cover letters and applicants’ resumes, especially when studies show 85% of applicants lie on their resumes. This is where the art of the interview comes into play.
According to a study, although a typical interview averages 40 minutes, 33% of hiring managers decide whether they want to hire a job candidate within the first 90 seconds of an interview. To ensure you’re completely thorough and make the right decision, it’s important to ask the right questions to fully understand and evaluate a candidate. During this 12-part series, we will explore the best interview questions to ask job candidates and give a few “pro tips” along the way.
Part Four – Uncovering an Interviewee’s Self-Awareness and Growth Potential
Question: What are some of your greatest weaknesses at work?
Follow ups: How are you working toward fixing these issues? What professional goals do you have to in regard to these weaknesses?
In part three of this series, we examined the importance of uncovering a job candidates’ potential fear of success, job fulfillment, and celebration style by asking about an interviewee’s proudest achievements. While some may have a difficult time speaking of their achievements, this next question can be even more difficult for people to talk about.
By asking a candidate to detail specific weaknesses they struggle with in their work life, you want to uncover how self-aware the interviewee is. When an individual is able to pinpoint specific issues they have, they tend to be a more humble, truthful employee. The classic answers of “work too hard, care too much” aren’t helpful and don’t show a candidate’s self-awareness. Often, candidates who are unable to answer this question in an honest way tend to be less of a team player and may be too arrogant for the position you’re filling.
The follow-up questions to this answer may be just as, if not more, important than the first. While it’s imperative for an interviewee to know their shortcomings, it’s key for the candidate to have specific plans and goals to help either fix or to lessen the effects of a professional weakness.
One sign that the candidate would be a great addition to your team is if they offer a solution to their weaknesses without being prompted by the interviewer. An issue without a solution isn’t helpful, and great candidates know that.
If you uncover self-awareness issues, don’t write-off the candidate right away. Many individuals either have a hard time speaking about weaknesses or don’t due to past interviews going poorly when discussing such matters. Dig in deeper and see which camp the candidate fits in. Are they overly conceited or just incredibly confident? While an arrogant employee can cause issues in the office, confidence is an important value for employees to have and can be what’s needed to boost workplace morale.
What is your favorite question to ask a job candidate? How do you decide who the right candidate is? Let us know in the comments section below!
I think it is stupid to ask a candidate to what are his “greatest weaknesses” at work. Would it be okay to answer, “I am a perfectionist and want to do everything I can right?” I don’t want to know about weaknesses. I would ask, “What are your greatest accomplishments?”