Ask A Stupid Question: Get A Lot Of Answers

Most positions include some sort of customer service, communication skills, client service or at the very least, interacting with other people. How do you effectively assess how a candidate will deal with these on behalf of your company? One method many HR Professionals use is behavioural interview questions. Of course the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, so asking them to tell you about a time they had to deal with a specific situation makes sense. This version of events will likely be censored though. How do you get rid of the filter and find out if they’re actually good at working on a team or with clients?


Put them to the test. There are several touch points in the recruitment process. How did they deal with each one? Take a look at their communication with your administrator. Were they polite, prompt and courteous? A lot of candidates can appear to be stellar employees when they know they are being watched, but that’s not what you’re looking for. You’re looking for an employee who takes pride in their work, and is courteous to people as a habit, not because they have to.

One of my favourite things to do is to see how candidates respond to questions that demonstrate a lack of knowledge on behalf of the interviewer. It’s easy for me as a third party recruiter, but it could be a good idea to have someone on your interview panel who isn’t an expert in the field. For example, in an interview for a Financial Analyst, have your HR professional ask a couple probing questions that demonstrate a lack of knowledge in the financial industry and see how they respond. Can they politely and effectively interact with someone less informed than they are, or does this put them off? Did they sound condescending in their answer? How did they make your employee feel? It’s possible they will make your clients, customers and employees feel exactly the same way.

As long as you make sure you’re not putting your candidates under any undue stress, making the process overcomplicated or breaking any laws, you should feel free to be a little creative with the hiring process. Remember, most traditional methods of hiring are well known and easy to prepare for. Sometimes it’s good to think outside the box. 

About the Author

ProfileScott Keenan is a Recruiter for Priority Personnel Inc., with several years’ experience recruiting in both the public and private sectors in addition to marketing and social media roles. As a self-described professional cynic, he provides unique insight into modern recruiting from both the recruiter and candidate’s perspective. You can follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn