To Be Fair, Hit’Em Hard!

Whether you have the absolute right candidate, wrong candidate or just can’t draw a hiring conclusion, try hitting’em hard! Nothing strips away interviewing chaff better than tough poignant questions.

Never try to embarrass any candidate and always be respectful, after all, you may be making him or her  a job offer and will want them to enthusiastically accept. However, I do ask tough questions when I think it is necessary to resolve a concern about the candidate.

Faced with several challenging questions, the meek will reveal their shortcomings, the Stars will shine, and you will have a truer picture of your candidate.

It is your responsibility to determine if a candidate is a proper fit for your position. Let’s find out during an interview, that a candidate isn’t a fit, before he quits his job, comes to work for you and gets dismissed or slow tracked 6 months later. Additionally, a Star deserves a fastball as fodder to hit an “interviewing home run”. Let’s look at several tough but poignant questions that I have asked candidates.

Please bear in mind; these are appropriate for positions where the candidate will be under pressure and performance scrutiny in their day-to-day job content.

I often start out a series of tough questions with “I have no hidden agenda, let me tell you what I am thinking”

Bill, you are leaving ABC Financial because they are experiencing problems. All companies go through challenging times, how do we know you wouldn’t leave us when we need you the most? 

I have seen this question leave seasoned executives apoplectic, however, I want the answer.

While interviewing Service Directors for a large dealership group, I pose this question: “We need a Service Director who can raise our CSI to the top in our zone. From what I have seen, your CSI scores look pretty average. Why would it be any different if you managed our service department?”

Before a candidate leaves my office, I often put my hand on a large stack or resume, (on my desk there are always several stacks), and ask:”Tom, one last question, there are several things that I like about you, I believe you could do a fine job in our position, but there are other qualified candidates whom I feel the same way about. Tell me why I would be making a mistake by hiring one of the other candidates instead of you?”

Ancillary benefit to this question is it often reduces candidate’s salary requests because they see competition for your position.

You owe it to the candidate to give him a chance to prove himself.


Don-JasenskyDonald Jasensky is founder and CEO of Automotive Personnel, LLC.;