Over the course of the past 20 years, I’ve been searching for – among other things – the single best question to ask in an interview. What I wanted to create was a One-Question Interview, a stand-alone query that would pierce through the veneer of generalizations, overcome typical candidate nervousness, minimize the impact of the candidate’s personality on the interviewer, eliminate the exaggeration which many candidates adopt as an interviewing ploy and actually determine if the candidate is competent and motivated to do the work required. I also wanted this question to begin the recruiting process, convincing the candidate by the question itself that the person asking it was sophisticated and professional, and that the company involved was a great place to grow a career.
- A complete description of the accomplishment
- The company you worked for and what it did
- The actual results achieved: numbers, facts, changes made, details, amounts
- When it took place
- How long it took
- The importance of this accomplishment to the company
- Your title and role
- Why you were chosen
- The 3-4 biggest challenges you faced and how you dealt with them
- A few examples of leadership and initiative
- Some of the major decisions made
- The environment and resources available
- How you made more resources available
- The technical skills needed to accomplish the objective
- The technical skills learned and how long it took to learn them
- The actual role you played
- The team involved and all of the reporting relationships
- Some of the biggest mistakes you made
- How you changed and grew as a person
- What you would do differently if you could do it again
- Aspects of the project you truly enjoyed
- Aspects you didn’t especially care about
- The budget available and your role in preparing it and managing it
- How you did on the project vs. the plan
- How you developed the plan
- How you motivated and influenced others, with specific examples to prove your claims
- How you dealt with conflict with specific examples
- Anything else you felt was important to the success of the project
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