the greatest interview question is…


By Chris Andrews – Managing Director

We see a lot of articles and posts around ‘killer’ questions in interviews. Some are really useful, however in many cases the question only works in certain contexts. Other times, the questions are great – if your goal is to catch someone out – or they are overly complex and conceal a hidden agenda. There is no right or wrong here, but at Stone, we encourage a simple, open approach to interviewing which is aimed at building a shared understanding of someone’s strengths and weaknesses. We then help them to present those strengths, and acknowledge the weaknesses, in the context of their career goals.

With that in mind, here is one of our favourite questions:

‘In around 5 minutes, please can you outline how you have managed your career to date?’

Why do we like this question so much?

  1. It’s an open question which means freedom of response
  2. …but it has their career timeline as a useful prompt
  3. It hands control to the interviewee…
  4. …but with a 5-minute timeline
  5. It requires self-reflection and qualitative self-evaluation
  6. Consequently it requires self-criticism and self-praise (very few people can do both well)
  7. It’s not a trick question- but it is a tough one
  8. It allows the interviewer time to evaluate and listen
  9. It sets up and segues well into other parts of the interview (such as, what next?)

Many interviews can be derailed when they fall into either a) an adversarial, defensive style or b) remain superficial without ever reaching a meaningful human connection. This question is a great way to avoid both traps while remaining true to Stone’s philosophy of reaching that shared understanding in an interview.

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