My Favorite Interview Questions: Part 2

Team work makes the dream work. Block Club’s office in 2015.

One of the most common things you’ll hear from business owners and employers is that good people are hard to find. It’s a universal truth for all businesses.

Employing smart, hardworking and creative people in Buffalo is something that I’m very proud of. Since day one, I’ve made a point to be actively involved in the hiring of every employee. No matter the job or company, there are always a few questions that I ask each candidate. I’m judging their creativity, ability to think and solve problems, and their ability to effectively communicate. I’m sharing my 10 favorite interview questions in two posts. The first five can be found here. To round out the list, read below.

If you could take a vacation anywhere, where would it be and why?

Where you want to travel (regardless of time or money) says a lot about who you are. Backpacking through Europe is very different than vacationing at an all-inclusive resort. Is this a critically important question? No, but it helps paint a more holistic picture. When you’re building a team, understanding the whole person is important.

How would you run a brainstorming or ideation session?

Every company is full of problems. If you can impress in this area, you’ll be a rock star because so many people are completely incapable of critical problem solving. This can be applied everywhere, at every company and at every level. This could prove that you’re invaluable to the organization.

Where do you look for inspiration?

Everyone is capable of being creative. The way we express our creativity varies from person to person. Your experiences out in the world should inspire that creativity. You never know what non-work related experience might help you problem solve or innovate at work. I just want to know that you’re actively looking to be inspired.

In any situation, how do you keep multiple stakeholders aligned and informed?

At any organization and with any project, work is typically done on teams or in groups. When I ask this question, I want to know how you communicate effectively with your teammates and project stakeholders. I like answers that start with the end in mind, building consensus as a group and working back from there. Once everyone is in alignment with the project vision, it’s much easier to keep the group working in that direction.

Do you have any questions for me?

Be prepared to ask some smart questions. Demonstrate that you’ve researched the company and the position and that you were paying attention during the interview. “No” is not a good answer.

After the interview is over, I run through a small checklist. Did the candidate bring a resume and letters of recommendation? Did the candidate say that they want the job? I also look for a strong handshake and eye contact throughout the interview. Most importantly, did the candidate say thank you? Within 24 hours, there should be a follow up email in my inbox too. I’m not an HR expert, but these questions have always served me well. Whether you’re an employer or job candidate, I hope these help you too.

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