Respect the Interview: How to identify candidates with hidden strengths and weaknesses image

Respect the Interview: How to identify candidates with hidden strengths and weaknesses

As an employer, you want to make sure that your next hire is the perfect fit. It’s not just a matter of their skills and qualifications- it’s about finding someone who will bring positive energy and help foster a healthy team environment. So how do you go about uncovering this information? One way is through discovering strengths and weaknesses by asking the right questions during the interview process.

With the potential for increased competition in the job market, employers need to be asking the right interview questions. Questions that help you determine whether your candidate is

  • looking to remove themselves from a negative workplace culture or environment, or
  • leaving for a very specific reason such as having difficulty coping with the demands of their current role, or
  • trying to improve their position, level of authority or remuneration, or
  • investigating a different industry or work culture.

Sometimes asking the question outright, “Why did you leave your last place of employment?” – Or – “Why are you interested in this position?” is not the best way to uncover personality and work traits. Instead, you need to identify whether the candidate is moving away from something or towards something. Their motivation is the key to discovering how they will fit with your team, culture and business requirements.

In this article we look at some of the top interview questions which can help employers identify candidates with hidden strengths and weaknesses:

Top Interview Questions

What is the most challenging obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

This question is meant to examine to what extent a candidate can cope with adversity and come out the other side with motivation. For example, a good answer to this question would be: “I was once involved in a car accident which put me in hospital for three weeks. Following my release from hospital, I had to undertake painful rehabilitation, and I could not work during that time. It was definitely a challenging experience, but I learned that it’s important not to let things get me down. I persisted through the painful rehab and returned to work, eager to put the experience behind me.”


What did your former boss like about working with you? And of course, what didn’t they like might be a better question.

This question is crucial to uncover their character and learn about the types of people they work well with. When you find out what they liked and disliked about their former boss, this will help you make a decision about hiring them.


What are your long-term career goals? What’s one goal that will take at least a year to achieve but which you’re willing to work towards now, even if it means doing something different in the interim?

This question looks at long-term and short-term goals. For example, a good answer to this question could be: “I have always had a goal to start my own business one day. But I also would like to work on my interest in publishing. So my short-term goal is to work and save up the funds to start my own business and to continue with my studies to improve my skillset overall.”


What type of professional development or training might be useful for you?

This question asks the candidate’s reasoning for why they think professional development or training might be useful. It will uncover work skills that require sharpening and provide insight into your prospective candidate’s nature. For example, are they willing to take on additional training to improve their opportunities and add value to your business? Or are they satisfied to remain in their current position? How does this fit with your organisational culture and goals?


How would you identify to your manager that your workload is too high? What steps could we take together to minimise any potential side effects on other people at work?

It’s essential to understand how the candidate copes with work pressure and deadlines. When a workload becomes too high, we know this can have flow-on effects to other people within the team and the organisation. This question asks the candidate about methods of managing this situation.


Where do you see yourself professionally five years from now? Ten years from now?

In an interview setting, this question asks about the candidate’s plans for the future. Asking this question will help you know what the individual is looking to achieve in their life. For example, a good answer would be: “I want to be a senior project manager in five years.”

Interviewing a Candidate who was fired or stood down.

It can be difficult sitting down with a candidate who has been let go by their previous employer. Whether it was because they were struggling under pressure, feeling overworked or just unhappy at work, it is important to get to the underlying reasons. As employers, we need to uncover why this occurred, making an effort to learn as much about this person’s work style and attitude as possible. This candidate might be the perfect fit for your company culture.

Your role in the interview process is about determining if this person will maintain a long-term relationship with their new company. The key takeaway is that being thorough during interviews means asking questions that uncover skills, qualifications, and personality and values.

Understanding what type of person you’re hiring is crucial. This determines whether they will be successful in the position, fit with your team and culture and help your company prosper.

Need Help? Ask Majer.

At Majer we help our clients looking for new talent in temporary, permanent and contract roles such as HR, administration, accounting, and marketing to name a few. We have been in business for over 20 years and know the market! If you would like more tips on hiring quality talent, please call and one of our experienced Talent Advisors will be more than happy to help. (07) 3253 6565

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