Now that it’s a hiring manager’s market, I’m hearing that a number of interviewees are hearing questions such as “Why do you want this job?” or “Why Should I Hire You?”
Hiring managers: that’s a shorthand question. You know what it means, but your candidate may not. You’re looking for ways to know if this person will be successful, or what they want to do this job. Remember, some people just want a paycheck. That’s fine. Don’t assume they will be out the door as soon as the economy picks up–the economy has to pick up darn fast for them to be out the door soon. Instead of asking a shorthand question, ask the question you really want to ask. That question might be:
- “What specific talents, skills, qualities, preferences do you bring to this position?” I prefer to analyze the job myself and ask questions about those things based on what I need, but you might hear interesting insights from candidates. One candidate told me she had the maturity to work with a relatively young team, and the young-at-heartedness to not hold them back from insightful ways to solve problems. She was right.
- “Tell me about the things you’ve been learning recently.” (Wait for an answer.) “How does this job fit into your learnings?”
- “Tell me about a time when you took a job you didn’t look perfect for. What did you do?”
- “Tell me about a time you took a job you looked perfect for. What did you do?”
- “Do you have any concerns about this job?”
- “Tell me how you expect to help me with this job.” This one is particularly difficult to answer well, since the candidate may not know how she can help.
Avoid using shorthand to the question you really want to ask. If you want to ask “Why will you consider a job that pays 20k less than your most recent position,” ask that. Otherwise, think abou the question you want to ask, and if it’s legal, ask away. That makes you a more attractive hiring manager and the job much more attractive.