The One or (Two) Question Interview

Anthony points to Lou Adler's One Question Interview. The one question is

Please think about your most significant accomplishment. Now, could you tell me all about it?

That's a great stepping off question. And, I really like the second question, in one of the comments on Anthony's post, by Jim Durbin

Tell me about the last big mistake you made and what you did to correct it.

Candidates, be prepared for these questions. Hiring managers and teams: consider these next two questions for your next interview. These questions are illuminating.

4 thoughts on “The One or (Two) Question Interview”

  1. After a while people become skilled at answering ALL of these questions. Any good candidate has done their research (they read this blog)and they are going to be prepared. The internet has made this all too easy.
    Last year I hired four people and I decided to change the process.
    I had NO canned questions. I did ask them prior to the interview to bring anything pertinent to their skills and the job they were applying for If they thought it would help present themselves. I didn’t tell them what to bring, just tossed the idea out there.
    When they arrived I described the job and our environment and then said, “Sell yourself to me.”
    Most of them crumbled and had no idea what to do. A couple of people just sat stunned and said nothing.
    A few of them did a wonderful job of selling themselves.
    I asked questions in response to what they said, but never led them.
    One year later this is the best group I have ever worked with.
    I will never go back to the canned list of questions.
    Before anyone jumps all over me. The job description we put out was detailed, we have a nice web site and I made sure to accurately describe the environment when they arrived. So, assuming they were qualified, a good candidate was going to have something to talk about.

  2. I need to add one more thing.
    For these positions I really needed people who were extroverts, to some extent. This would probably be less effective on someone who is very introverted.

  3. Guess which type most of those that fell into this category:
    “Most of them crumbled and had no idea what to do. A couple of people just sat stunned and said nothing.”
    were? Introvert or extrovert? So, you managed to find out which ones were introverted or extroverted, but your unorthodox approach to interviewing (didn’t say “wrong”) very likely didn’t get you the kinds of candidates you were wanting. Though, since the ones you hired were extroverted, you get along with them great and thus THINK your interviewing system landed you the best candidates of the bunch 😉

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