It’s relatively easy for people to bluff their way through a job interview.

They can exaggerate their experience… omit negative information… flatter the interviewer… and according to a 2014 study published in Personnel Psychology, interviewers often have a hard time detecting these deceptions.

If you’re the company owner, the stakes are high. You can’t afford to hire someone who wowed you at the interview stage – only to discover later that it was all an act. You need a set of incisive questions, like these questions we ask every job candidate, which are difficult to bluff through.

These questions are designed to give insight into candidates’ personalities, what they really care about, and how they think and work. On top of that, they are much harder to fake than experience or qualifications (although we ask about these extensively as well) and they help us assess whether the candidate will fit with our organization’s values, purpose, and team – the keys to becoming an engaged employee.

Feel free to adapt them to your own organization!

Pre-Interview questions

First, candidates fill in a questionnaire about their background. This includes an initial insight into their priorities:

  • If we were to meet three years from today, what would have happened during that period, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy about your progress?

The telephone interview

Before we meet the candidates, we establish how enthusiastic they are about the role with questions such as:

  • What do you like about being a [name of the role]?
  • Describe what the ideal team/environment you like to work in looks like.
  • What do you understand about [the role]?
  • What do you think [our company] as a business does?

We test how much research they’ve done, and only ever share information about the role and our company towards the end of the interview, so they can’t tell us what we want to hear…

Communication builder

Next, candidates complete a questionnaire about their preferred communication style. This helps us understand how they might interact with the rest of the team.

Questions include:

  • What’s the most / least effective way to communicate with you?
  • Handling Stress: What do you need to feel best supported? (Focus time, input from others, reassurance, time alone, and update meetings)
  • What is your biggest insight from doing this exercise?
  • What action can you take to improve your communication?

The latter two questions show how willing candidates are to grow – and help them get value from the exercise, regardless of whether their application is successful.

Face-to-face interview(s)

When we meet the candidate in person, we try to uncover how compatible they are with our core values. We want to make sure that money is not their #1 motivator.

Questions include:

  • Who is your role model and why?
  • If you were hired, loved everything about Engagement Multiplier and the job, and were being compensated fairly, what kind of offer would it take from another company for you to consider leaving?
  • What drives you in your professional life?

Yes, this is a very comprehensive recruitment process and the questions we ask every job candidate are challenging. But I’ve never failed to be amazed by how much they reveal about our candidates, or how accurately we can predict, based on the responses, who will make an engaged employee.

And frankly, anyone who can bluff their way through all that deserves to be hired.