What do sheep, trumpets and queuing have in common? They are all valid interview answers. And here’s why.
In addition to being able to carry out the role in question, most companies also want to recruit a well-rounded candidate; with the skills, attitude, approach, personality and potential that will add value to their organisation. And without the benefit of the crystal ball, the interview will be a key instrument in exploring and establishing this.
If you’re an interviewer, limiting your expectations of answers to only work-related examples is a risk. It’s a risk because there’s so much more to any person than their career history, and in certain cases, confining answers to work experience could hold them back from revealing their biggest achievements or indication of talent.
In addition, the candidate may be applying;
· for a graduate position; in which case their work experience could be limited
· after an extended career break for any number of reasons making their work-related examples out of date
· for a role representing a significant career change in which case their work-based examples may not be highly relevant.
Welcoming examples from non-work related life experiences on the other hand will have significant advantages. It can speak volumes about their personality and drive; their ethics and integrity; their interests and passions. It will enable them to demonstrate skills, aptitudes and potential that they may not have had the opportunity to display in the workplace. It will enable the interview to bring out transferable and valuable skills that may not otherwise be revealed, but which may unveil an outstanding and ideal candidate.
Some of the most enlightening stories about people come from what they do in their spare time. Here are a few things I’ve learned from recent interviews;
How to manage sheep when their pen gate collapses.
This story gave superb evidence of a candidate’s ability to think on their feet, deal with the pressure of potentially losing the owner’s sheep and livelihood, keep himself from being trampled on and keep a positive attitude under immense pressure.
How to make the most of your trumpet practice.
This candidate’s story described how he battled with lip fatigue when trying to learn a long musical piece in a very short time. Great resilience, hard work and dedication to achieve a goal. And a lot of puff!
How to make money from queues.
This interviewee seized a business opportunity that he spotted, set up a website and made money from people who couldn’t be bothered to queue themselves. What fabulous initiative and commercial nouse!
It’s not to say that valuable time should be spent in interviews discussing a candidate’s favourite football team, or chatting about their children. But if they’ve run a sports club or they Chair the PTA, this may demonstrate some real skills; in marketing, fundraising, engagement, organisation, initiative, creativity, budget management and more. It also gives an insight into their character; motivation; ability to handle pressure and multiple projects as they show success outside of their work-life as well as within it.
A well-devised interview question should be designed to give the candidate the best chance to demonstrate how they would perform in a task or faced with a particular challenge. Being open to how they evidence it, may just uncover for you an interesting and highly capable candidate; with the right aptitude to perform in the role.
So ignore sheep, trumpets or queuing at your peril!
For help with interview questions that will identify the most well-rounded candidates, contact Ali at The Recruitment Team now on
07971 511731 or firstname.lastname@example.org