Performance Culture Secrets: 5 Interview Questions You Need to Start Asking

Getting the right people to work in your organization starts with the recruitment and selection process. After reviewing resumes and perhaps looking at the network connections of candidates, managers have the hefty responsibility of the one-on-one interview. This process is designed to get not only a feel for the candidate’s fit with the organization, but also insight into judgment and reasoning. Among successful companies’ secrets of high performance culture is knowing how to go deep in a professional interview setting, in order to see the real person behind the credentials and understand his or her potential fit within your organization.

Consider asking the five questions below during interviews. Ideal answers will depend on the position, but the topics are a starting point for you to learn all you need to know about your candidates. Remember once you bring on new hires, you have to invest a lot of time and money in their training and integration into the company, a process you want to expedite as much as possible. You can gain a lot of information about how quickly they can be part of the team by the examples they provide and how they choose to describe past situations.

1. What Are You Most Proud Of?

Pride is a tricky feeling. Managers may look with favor upon candidates who express pride in raising levels of employee satisfaction, and or productivity in past positions. Some may also appreciate pride in one’s family or altruistic efforts while off the clock. When you are listening to the answer, pay close attention to learn more about the candidate’s personal life, potential for humility, and communication skills.

2. In What Work Environment Do You Perform Best?

In order for any employment relationship to be successful, the candidate must be a good match for the company’s culture. An ill fit does not mean there is anything wrong with the workplace or the potential hire. But when you are adding new members to your team, you must do your best to choose who has the best chance of creating an optimal environment to drive company growth. By asking candidates how and where they work best, you can assess whether their ideals integrate with your company culture.

Also see “How to Build a Successful Company Culture.”

3. Tell Me About Your Greatest Failure In Life. What Did You Learn From This?

Failure is inevitable, at work and in life. The answer to this question can reveal much about job candidates. If they do not provide a lengthy exposition about what went wrong and how they recovered, delve deeper with a few follow-up questions. Use the question to identify how candidates perceive failure and what lessons they were able to garner from the experience. Furthermore, a person who can’t think of many failures is probably a person who either has not taken many risks, or who fails to perceive their own shortcomings.

4. On What Type of Projects Do You Most Enjoy Working?

A question of this nature helps facilitate a discussion about what the job really entails. This helps both parties determine whether or not this job will bring the challenges the interviewee is seeking. It is an advantage to both parties for the interviewee to accept a job in which they will be satisfied for at least a few years. So, it is important to get a sense of whether the interviewee will be satisfied. Ask them what kinds of work they enjoy doing and give some thought as to whether there’s enough of that kind of work in the position to keep them happy.

Learn more about hiring the right fit.

5. What Interests You More: This Job or This Industry?

Many candidates apply for a job to gain experience in an industry or gain skills to advance in a particular role. Knowing where interest lies gives you the ability to best place the interviewee, if they are a good candidate. Furthermore, it may tell you if the interviewee is simply using this job as a stepping stone for other opportunities in the industry, or wants to be the best they can be at a certain role within your company. Job candidates just passing through your employment may be alright in certain kinds of positions, but not in others.

Performance culture secrets include knowing how to get the right people to work for you – for a long time. The most qualified and enthusiastic team members can get your organization to a new level of success, if they are also a fit for your culture. Commit to looking deeper during interviews so you will have a better sense of who is a good fit and who might belong at a different workplace.

Learn about our 10 levers of optimal business performance.

Before you bring on new people, you might want to take a close look at your existing performance culture. Maybe things seem to be going well: you’re making a profit, growing every year, and employees seem to be happy. But there is often an ocean of difference between doing well and excelling. To learn how to optimize company performance, call on us for expert advice.

How is your organization performing? Come take our performance climate survey to understand what areas of your business are most in need of change. You might be surprised about what you learn, and have greater motivation to take your organization to the next level.

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