Tough questions for internal candidates
  • leadership
  • Blog post

Tough questions for internal candidates

The great thing about internal candidates is you’ve had a chance to see how they work day in and day out. So you’re not likely to get snookered by an impostor who talks the talk but can’t walk the walk.

But even so, you need to ask internal candidates tough questions too — not because you want to see them squirm, but because success in any new job requires people to adapt and succeed outside their comfort zone.

Here are some hard-but-fair questions for internal candidates:

“Let’s look at your last performance evaluation. In what area were you most disappointed?” With an internal candidate you’ll have access to the evaluation, of course, so the purpose of the question isn’t to find out what it said. The purpose is to put the candidate on the hot seat and see how candid he is willing to be, and what/how much he has learned through adversity.

“Where do you disagree most often with your current boss? How did you handle it the last time he/she was wrong and you were right?” This suite of questions is excellent for assessing how the internal candidate balances dual imperatives -– standing up for one’s beliefs when challenged versus not creating unnecessary conflict.

“How would your current supervisor grade your ability to cope with last-minute changes without being flustered?” Again, with an internal candidate you may have the supervisor’s answer to the question. But asking it of candidates lets you check their perception against reality, and also – because the question itself is potentially flustering – to watch them perform under pressure.

Source: “96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire,” by Paul Falcone.

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