3 Quick, Effective Interview Questions

3 Quick, Effective Interview Questions

Interviewing potential employees can be a tough, stressful job, but it doesn’t have to be.

John Younger is the CEO of Accolo, a cloud recruiting service provider, and he has interviewed thousands of candidates. Younger has come up with a quick, effective method for breezing through interviews to get the information he needs about each candidate. He says to go through a candidates work history and ask these 3 simple questions for each subsequent job:

1. How did you find out about the job?

2. What did you like about the job before you started?

3. Why did you leave?

Younger also says to resist the urge to ask for details and ask follow up questions until after asking these questions for all jobs, as these will break the flow of the conversation.  If you’re breezing through an interview with predictable, friendly questions, then candidates won’t be caught off guard and will be more open and candid. Here’s why these are effective questions that can tell a lot about a candidate:

How did you find out about the job?

If a candidate shows patterns of finding jobs through general job postings, fairs, online listings, etc. this could potentially be a red flag. It is not a big deal if a person finds their first few jobs in this manner, as most people do. However, if a person continually uses these methods to find jobs well into their working life, then it shows they might not know what they want to do in life, which probably means they aren’t eager to work for you, they are just eager to work.

“Plus, by the time you get to Job Three, Four, or Five in your career, and you haven’t been pulled into a job by someone you previously worked for, that’s a red flag,” Younger says. “That shows you didn’t build relationships, develop trust, and show a level of competence that made someone go out of their way to bring you into their organization.”

The opposite is also true, as getting pulled into a job by a past employer shows that you must have done something right, and can potentially be as important as a great reference.

What did you like about the job before you started?

Of course you will come across the customary “next step in my career” or “opportunity to learn about the industry” from time to time. Which is OK for candidates with not much working experience. But, again, if a candidate has had 3, 4, 5 jobs they should be able to elaborate a little more, and could show that they are just looking for just another job to put on their resume.

The best employees love what they do; they enjoy their work and feel very comfortable in their working environment. Their luxurious salaries and big-name titles should take a backseat to loving what they do, as these will be the hardest workers.

Also, if a candidate knows what they love, then they know what they thrive in, and will seek out jobs fitting that description of what they love to do, which is why they are sitting across from you in an interview.

Why did you leave?

This question can tell a lot about a candidate.

“Better opportunities” and “more money” are topics that come up a lot when asking candidates this question, which isn’t a bad thing and shouldn’t raise too many eyebrows.

However, oftentimes relationships and disagreements can play a factor in one’s leaving a job, and if you’ve made the candidate comfortable by sticking to the flow of the 3 questions, they will often elaborate and tell you details and back story you wouldn’t normally get. If not, refrain from asking for details until after you’ve asked all the questions and be aware if their is a pattern.

“It’s a quick way to get to get to the heart of a candidate’s sense of teamwork and responsibility,” Younger says. “Some people never take ownership and always see problems as someone else’s problem. And some candidates have consistently had problems with their bosses–which means they’ll also have issues with you.”


These questions will give you a quick, solid baseline of information about a candidate that you could build on throughout the rest of the interview.



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