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The word job interview is enough to clam up the hands of any great candidate. But equally as clammy are the hands of the interviewer.

That’s because for most of us, we just aren’t skilled at interviewing. We’re asked to shoulder the huge responsibility of deciding in 60 minutes or less if someone if a lifetime fit for the role and for the company. No wonder we’re a mess.

Often times, we have no idea what to do, where to start or what questions to ask. Best case scenario — you jot down some questions that your boss asked you when you were hired, or you jump on Google and search for “best interview questions.”

Either way, you probably end up asking the same useless questions everyone else asks.

So what’s a girl to do?

Remember the End Goal

First you need to remember that it’s an interview, not an interrogation. The purpose of an interview is to engage in a two-way conversation that helps both you and the candidate to learn about each other.

Focus on asking questions that give you information that you actually care about. Your target is to learn about and truly evaluate a candidates real potential — their skills, qualifications and culture fit.

Asking a question like “What is your biggest weakness?” is a joke. Candidates pre-can this type of answer because they know you will ask the question. And their answer will give you nothing more than a made up weakness that magically converts that flaw into a hidden strength.

Do Your Homework

This is an easy one — google your candidates name and see what pops up. Be prepared to ask questions around anything you find useful or interesting.

Ask Questions that Count

I love you Google — I really do. But let’s try to add a little more value here by forgetting the traditional questions and asking a few of these instead:

“Tell me what happened the last time you got in an argument with someone?”

We’re human — which means we don’t always play well in the sandbox with everyone we meet. Conflict is inevitable, especially when you have high performing players who are driving to success. Mistakes happen and we may not always see the path the way others do. And that’s okay.

But your key in asking this question is to listen to see if the person tends to push the blame for problems around. Do they accept their role in the issue? What was the process they took to try and resolve the conflict?

You’d much rather hire a candidate who hesitates to lay blame elsewhere and takes accountability to address and help fix the problem.

“If you could start any business, what would it be?”

I love this question because it gets candidates to open up about what truly drives them in life. The answer to this question will help you to understand what your candidates hope, dreams and passions are, and will help you to gauge whether or not they are a culture fit.

For me, right now my life revolves around helping companies attract, retain, engage and develop their workforce’s in order to build high performing, massively successful organizations.

But eventually — when I retire — I will likely purchase a hundred acre organic farm to support fresh and sustainable food movements. Oh, and that farm will be complete with a family of pet micro-pigs.

See, how much more you know about me by just asking one simple question?

“What Are The Top 3 Goals on Your Bucket List? How Do You Plan to Accomplish Them?

This question will help you to understand what level of internal motivation, drive and execution skills the candidate has. It will also help you to understand if want to change the world, or if they are complacent in their lives/jobs?

“What Questions Can I Answer for You?”

Remember, this interview street goes both ways. Answer as many questions as you can for the candidate so they are able to make a fully informed decision in the event that you do decide to extend an offer. There’s nothing worse than a one sided interview that ends with “ok we’ll be in touch”.

Be open — get to the heart of the matter — and reap the benefits if being able to hire highly productive and engaged team members that care about you — and the mission of the organization.

What about you? What questions do you feel interviewers should ask?