10 Interview Questions Guaranteed to Find Areas of Development

Last weekend I sat back and watched ‘The Fifth Element’ with Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich, the latter taking on the role of ‘The Perfect Being’.  Bruce Willis’ character quickly falls for her and joins the queue of those believing her to be perfection personified. This, after she’s seen devouring two roast chickens with her bare hands.

Depending on your own personal belief system, ‘The Perfect Being’ is reserved for one or two areas—religion and fiction.

Having interviewed my fair share of people over the years, I’ve been guilty of believing in ‘The Perfect Candidate’. Someone who answered every question with flawlessly relevant examples, and showed no visible area of weakness or development.

As we know, these candidates never live up to the dizzy heights of the pedestal that we’ve placed them on.

Whether you realised at the time or not – you were played; most commonly by yourself, then the candidate, or a combination of both.

By being so wrapped up in finishing the task to your own self-set high-standard of perfection, you created a mythical creature of faultlessness and sold yourself the belief that this creature is now sitting before your very eyes.

By doing so, you’ve done yourself, the candidate and the business a complete injustice.

If you’ve left the interview without digging deep enough to find any areas of development, you’re ultimately responsible for that person’s lack of success within the business and the role.

All of us need to continually develop and learn. The belief in perfection sets an unobtainable thought process with only one result – that of failure to meet expectation.

Here are some left field questions that I use to seek out development areas when I’m finding myself believing in the impossible.

Key interview questions to ask:

  1. What would be your main area of technical expertise or personality trait that you would like to improve on over the next 12 months?
  2. What did you do differently than your predecessors within your current position?
  3. What areas of your current, day-to-day duties do you least enjoy?
  4. In your position, how do you define doing a good job?
  5. Having a good understanding of the position, what areas would you feel less knowledgeable on?
  6. How do you cope with unrealistic objectives? What is your strategy?
  7. Has there been a time when you came close to quitting your job but then decided not to? What was the reason and what made you change your mind?
  8. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career and what assistance did you have in achieving the result?
  9. When was the last time your work was criticised – why was this and how did it make you feel?
  10. What kind of people do you find challenging in the workplace?
  11. Here’s a roast chicken – please eat it.

Rik Blanchard is a Client Director with Vantage Performance – a national award-winning business transformation firm with proven success in solving complex financial, operational and people performance issues.

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