9 Awkward Interview Questions you NEED to Ask

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Awkward Interview Questions - TalentVine Blog Post

There aren’t many things more disappointing than finding the perfect candidate to join your team, only for them to knock it back for some completely unforeseen reason. Hours of interview time, back and forth chat, and coordinating with candidates, all down the drain due to one little detail.

Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do. Other times, you just need to make sure you discover those little details before moving ahead with a candidate. We’ve sat down with hiring managers and recruiters and put together a list of the most awkward interview questions that are an absolute necessity. Give them a go – it won’t be comfortable, but it will prevent nasty surprises.

1.  Why are you leaving your current role?
There are obvious benefits to getting this one out of the way early on. Understanding a candidate’s reasons for leaving their current role can paint a pretty clear picture of their expectations for future roles.

2.  Have you spoken to your boss about why you’re leaving?
This can be a difficult question, particularly as the response is often in the negative. Many candidates are unwilling to discuss dissatisfaction at work with their boss. The issue with this is that if the boss is not aware the candidate is unhappy, they are very likely to push to keep the candidate when they announce their resignation. You definitely don’t want your candidate accepting a counter-offer.

3.  Have you looked at other roles internally?
You don’t want to take an offer to a candidate only for them to use it as leverage for a better position in their current organisation. Many candidates will be happy with their workmates and their organisational culture, but dissatisfied with the responsibilities of their role. Clear this up early on.

4.  Have you applied anywhere else?
Knowing where a candidate is at in their job search is important. You can get an idea of the types of positions they’re looking at and further gauge where you think they’d be a good fit.

5.  (If so) Which is your preferred role?
If they are looking at other roles, ask them which one they prefer. Many candidates will answer honestly, as they’ll usually only look into roles that they’re interested in anyway. This can be an awkward question, but it’s helpful to know if the role you have in mind is far down their preference list.

6.  What is your ideal role?
Open this question by explaining to the candidate that you always have a number of roles available, and you want to ensure that you place them somewhere that will aid their growth and keep them happy. If they respond with something a little fanciful (Tesla’s CTO), ask them to explain specifically what they like about the role you’re offering.

7.  Have you been rejected for a role recently?
This is important. A rejection can be a huge hit to a candidate’s confidence, particularly if it happened recently. Find out if they’ve been turned down, try to discover why, and help them take steps to avoid it happening again.

8.  Do you have any reservations about this role?
A “no” isn’t necessarily the best answer here. Many candidates will have reservations about roles they otherwise like, and it’s critical that these are addressed before moving ahead. Whether that involves speaking to the client about changing certain aspects of the role, or choosing not to go ahead, either way will save you time.

9.  Who else has an influence on your decision?
It’s always good to get an idea of who the candidate listens to when it comes to their life choices. Does their partner play a part in their decision making? Do they have children to consider, or parents? This is especially important if the role involves major life changes, such as moving house.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the interviewer to make sure a candidate is happy about a role and prepared for all its responsibilities. If that involves asking awkward questions, so be it.

To ensure you’re hiring the best talent from the right sources, on your terms, let the TalentVine platform help you today!

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