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Article by: John Bernatovicz — View more articles by John Bernatovicz

Posted on: February 29, 2012

There Are No Magic Questions

The other day an article came across in one of my Linked In email updates... the article was from last year and I remember seeing it, but for some reason it just jumped out at me this time. The article on Forbes.com, entitled "Top Executive Recruiters Agree There Are Only Three True Job Interview Questions," gave me great pause. This type of thinking, let alone this type of behavior, really separates the professional recruiter from the everyday "headhunter."

By the way, the three questions are:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Will you love the job?
  3. Can we tolerate working with you?

My main concern with the premise that there are 3 basic questions (posed by Mr. Bradt in his article) is the fact that they can be answered with one word answers, yes or no.

Experience in the recruiting space tells us that a keen candidate would answer all three of the questions with a positive, yes response.  In his first question, I have asked candidates, “tell me why you can do this job and how your experience is a good fit.”  The candidate’s answer will tell me how much they have prepared for the interview as well as give me a barring point of what our client is looking for.

As for the second question, instead ask, “what job in your career have you loved the most and why?”  The candidates response will give you an insight into what they really like and how it fits with what our client seeks.

And the third question... an effective employee / employer relationship is a two way street.  This question implies that conformity is more important than contribution. A better way to tackle this may be, “how would you describe the type culture you thrive in most?"

It's great that some are trying to create a silver bullet or uncover a magoc elixor to hiring.  It is important that we look at how we go about matching opportunities with candidates.  At Willory, we believe it is our responsibility to peel back the onion.  This usual takes more than three swipes.