Interviewing applicants straight out of college – individuals who are looking for entry level finance jobs, like accounting jobs or risk management jobs – can be a major challenge. Yes, they're educated – but how can you assess the more important factors, like whether or not they'll fit into your culture, how they'll handle workplace stress, and what value they'll be adding to your company? Often times, it can be near impossible to cut through the self-promotional clutter of the application process.
Yet armed with the right questions, an employer or hiring manager can learn everything they need to know about an applicant in an interview. The key is to ask the questions that will give you insight into the potential employee's working methods, as opposed to the questions that will allow them to blandly promote their own skills. Here are a number of questions you may want to spring on your next set of applicants – you may find that they lead to much more telling responses than you receive when you ask them to "tell me about yourself."
What do you find interesting about this job?
Some employees are in it for the long haul, and some are simply intrigued by high salaries. Always ask an applicant what they find interesting about the position they're aiming for – and never hire an individual who doesn't seem sincerely excited by the prospects offered by the position.
What was your last great idea?
It's important to know that the applicant can fulfill the general requirements of the position – but you're also going to want to hire someone who has the potential to go above and beyond. By asking the applicant about their last great idea, you can assess their ability to think outside the box of their job title – and see what kind of value they may be capable of adding to your firm.
How do you get along with difficult colleagues?
Every office strives to have an open and communicative culture, but all managers know that conflict is a fact of life. By asking this question, you can help to assess how well the applicant works around demanding or difficult coworkers – is it a red flag for them, or are they confident that they could happily work alongside a challenging colleague? For high pressure careers in finance, this is a topic better broached sooner than later.
When is the last time you made a mistake on the job?
All workers make mistakes, but they won't want to bring them up during a job interview – so you should. By asking a worker about their last mistake, you can see whether or not they shy away from attributing failure to themselves. A worker who won't own up to any major blunders is almost certainly lying, and also likely lacks the ability to learn from their mistakes. The best type of worker is the kind who can find lessons in their mistakes, so assessing an employee's ability to speak intelligently about their failures is a great way of assessing how they'll add value to your corporation.
Why should I hire you?
Lastly, put the applicant on the spot! Ask them to sell you directly on what they can bring to your company. Odds are, you'll hear a number of shallow sales pitches, and at least one impassioned speech. You want to find an applicant who's truly committed to bettering your business, as opposed to one that's simply dedicated to bettering their own employment – and this question is the best way to assess which type of worker the person you're interviewing actually is.