Five Most Important Questions to Ask an Applicant

A certain article posted in caught my attention. It was written by Willa Plank dated last April 30, 2010. Reading the said article made me think back on the time when I was on the applicant’s seat being asked by my employers; it was a job interview and honestly this was indeed nerve wrecking like some investigation on some Criminal History hidden inside your closet. There are times I wish I could laugh out loud yet need to keep it subtle as there are things that, no matter how much at ease the conversation was, need to be kept unsaid.

The article discusses the five questions that employers must ask potential applicants. It was compiled through an interview with Founding Principal of organizational consulting and research firm Dattner Consulting: Ben Dattner. It was said that with the economy picking up (from last recession), companies have started hiring more. However with little fund getting the best employee is a challenge yet again. To catch the best here are the five questions that the article suggests must be asked.

1. In what ways will this role help you stretch professional capabilities?

According to Dattner, this question is a reversal to “what are some of your greatest weaknesses?” Candidates at this point are prompted to describe either the skills he or she want to develop or the goals she wished to achieve. However Dattner also advices the employer to watch out for people who would simply say that the job he or she is applying to may help add up to what they already know.

2. What have been your greatest areas of improvement in your career?

If there is one thing that can ruin an applicant, a “red flag answer” according to the article, is “I’ve always been a natural. I don’t need to make improvements.” This is one of the questions that will surely hit the weaknesses of applicants yet may also boost out their goals, histories and more positive things that may earn them the opportunity to work. Employment Verification may be in need for this type of interview to further check on whether the applicant is telling the truth, is being conservative with his or her answers or is lying….

3. What’s the toughest feedback you’ve ever received and how did you learn from it?

The toughest feedback question usually triggers a candidate willing to learn from mistake. Another plus factor is the recall he or she can make especially on what he or she specifically learned from it. a definite red flag for this question would be when he or she doesn’t seems to forget what it was or has no toughest feedback what so ever. It means he or she has not exposed him or herself in a risky environment nor has gone to go for creative measures.

4. What are people likely to misunderstand about you?

This question tends to discuss an applicant’s social skills. His adaptability to an environment plus the way he or she is able to sense into other people’s moods are something that can be a plus for an applicant.

5. If you were giving your new staff a “user’s manual” to you, to accelerate their “getting to know you” process, what would you include in it?

This question reveals a candidate’s working style. For example, take note for those who can give straight answers like he would prefer to discuss something in person and so on and so forth. To answer that he or she will let other people see what he or she is like is a wrong answer adds the fact that the answer would be “just do your job and everything will be fine”.

There are many mistakes often done during the interview; either the applicant (especially those who are sitting on the chair for the first time) is nervous (like scared that he or she might be linked to someone else’s Criminal History), or really is plain ignorant on how to deal with such situations. Remember that being impressive all may fail us (as being too confident may also give the impression of boastfulness rather than being a team player). Learn to handle interviews and be confident, in the right amount that any Employment Verification or whatever background check for that matter is something that has carried you to someone developed and further open to learning.