We’ve all been there.

Sitting in a chair, across from someone you think is a bit intimidating, and filled with nerves.

Interviewing is no easy thing. Whether you’re the interviewer or the interviewee, it can be stressful on both sides. As the interviewer, you are looking for a candidate that is the perfect fit for your company, and one who is also talented and will bring something to the table. The task of finding the right person for the job can seem overwhelming at times. There are a lot of factors that go into finding the right person, and sometimes, it takes awhile to find them.

With each question you ask, you’re trying to discover more about the person in front of you. While close-ended questions will get you definite answers, it’s the open-ended questions that will tell you a great deal more about the candidate. INC contributor Samira Far argues that this one question will work wonders.

“If you were to land your ideal job this week, what would be the top three traits of this position?”

The reaction and verbal response from the candidate just might tell you a lot about their mindset and character. When asking that question, an interviewer needs to look for the following four things, according to Far.

  1. Clarity in their response. You’re asking for traits, not a personal story or complaints about past jobs.
  2. Excitement. Their dream job should be a cause for excitement and passion. Far states, “As they are envisioning getting this ideal position, their tone of voice will change, their body language will open up, and they should seemingly be enthusiastic about the idea of landing a job with these traits.”
  3. Real traits that can be defined. Characteristics that are over broad won’t let you get a sense of what they are truly looking for. Also, hard-to-define traits might hinder how you communicate with them in the future.
  4. Growth or value potential. You want a candidate who desires the chance to grow within your company. Without listing a trait like compensation, growth, or value potential, they won’t value your business as much because they won’t be as invested in it.

Asking a candidate this question in an interview and looking for these four things will help you learn more about that person. Also, it’s important for the interview to have more of a conversational tone rather than just a long list of questions. Rattling off a list of questions won’t provide an environment for conversation and will likely limit to how much you learn about the interviewee.

The easiest way to initiate a conversational interview is to actually listen. Buffer writer Courtney Seiter states, “Skilled interviewers become adept at listening not just to the words their subject is saying but also the tone in which the words are said, the pauses and nuances of the answer and what’s being left unsaid.” Truly listening to what is being said and what is not being said will help you as the interviewer determine more about the candidate than if you did just list question after question.

 

Do you have a distinguishing question you ask during an interview? Let us know in the comments.