Human hand breaking stone question markWith around 40 percent of employers finding it difficult to find critical talent, it’s pretty clear that many employers will be hiring from a candidate’s market. This means that top talent will be in demand and can afford to be quite choosey about who they join. They will be assessing your organization to see if you’re the right fit, just as much as you’ll be assessing them.

Many of your interviews will, therefore, be characterized by a two-way interaction with employers being asked questions by the candidate, which are sometimes just as tough as the questions that employers are dishing out. This is why you need to be prepared to effectively answer some tough questions from candidates if you are to appear an employer of choice and entice them into your organization. In the first part of this article we outlined four tough questions that candidates typically ask employers:

1. How would you describe your management style?

2. Is the business currently profitable and what are your profit forecasts for the next year or more?

3. What are the opportunities and what is the process for career progression?

4. What are the most challenging parts of this job and working here?

In this second part of the article, we outline four tougher interview questions that top candidates may ask.

1. Do I have the job?  How do I compare against other candidates? Will you be inviting me to second interview?

This can be quite a forceful batch of questions, which can make employers uncomfortable as they really don’t want to show their hand too early in the process, and you can’t make any commitments or accurate appraisals until you have discussed each interview with key stakeholders. But, what you can do is give a candidate an appraisal of what you consider to be his/her strengths and weaknesses in regards to his/her candidacy, which should at least address the candidate’s answer in part.

2. Why did this job become available?

If the position has come about due to expansion or because someone was promoted internally away from this role, this question is typically easy to answer directly. The question becomes a tough question in the event that the position became available due to the candidate being fired, suggesting there may be some risk in the position or the candidate resigning voluntarily as this could suggest a problem with the job.

I think you should answer this question in a direct and honest way, as anything else will make the candidate nervous. If the candidate left voluntarily, say for a promotion, explain why he or she could not get a promotion at your company. Maybe no roles came up, or the person simply was not selected. If the previous employee was fired, you’ll need to explain there were competency issues and outline any other people who are successfully performing the role in other parts of the organization to show that the job objectives are truly achievable. This will help the candidate to see there was an issue with the person and not the job.

3. How long have you been with the company and what keeps you interested in the job? What parts of the company culture and the job keep you engaged?

These can be especially tough questions if you, the interviewer, are not engaged in your job, as you might find it hard to show enthusiasm and to give specific bullet points showing why you like your job. The candidate is really looking to get behind the marketing speak and look you in the eye and see if the company is really as good as you are making out. So, I’d recommend that you are very clear on what keeps you engaged in your job and with the company prior to the interview so you can express that to the candidate either proactively or reactively and let him or her know that the organization does what it says on the tin.

4. What is the top priority for the job incumbent over the next 3 months?

Now, if you have worked out what the main priority or priorities are, you will give the impression that you are a manager that can provide some clear goals for their staff member. If you are vague and haven’t established the priorities, you will come across as potentially disorganized, not ready for a new hire, and potentially a manager who will need managing upwards as you don’t seem to know your own mind. So, establish what your priorities are in advance and communicate them proactively or reactively to the candidate or this may reflect very badly on you and the organization.

Good luck in convincing in demand talent to choose you.

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