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  • Writer's pictureWes Burwell


In 1942 a movie called “Casablanca” came out, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. The movie involves mystery, intrigue, and an ending that one could say is surprising. However, at the end of the movie Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) says the following priceless words to Captain Renault (Claude Rains), “I believe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

If we fast forward to the world of business, as employers, each of us are hoping that the result of our interviews will be that we decided on the best candidate for a position. At that point when we are extending an offer to the candidate, we are also hoping that we can say words that are similar to the words Rick Blaine said to Captain Renault. In other words, we are hoping that we can say the following words to the selected candidate. “I believe this is the beginning of a beautiful working relationship.”

Yet how do we arrive at this point? How do we know that we’ve hired the right candidate? Even though there is no way to guarantee that, the first and primary step in making that determination is the interview.

As employers, the primary goal of the interview is to ensure that the candidate has demonstrated the ability to handle the job for which they are being considered.

In searching online for the most common interview questions, some of the following question listed were:

  • Can you tell me a little about yourself?

  • How did you hear about the position?

  • What do you know about our company?

  • What are your greatest professional strengths?

Further down the list some of the other questions listed were:

  • If you were an animal, which one would you want to be?

  • How many tennis balls can you fit into a limousine?

While questions like these can provide information into a person’s abilities, they fail to address a broader issue. That issue being that when we hire an individual, we are not only hiring their skill set, but we are also hiring their values and their lifestyle.

In other words, an understanding of these items is just as important as understanding their core competencies.

Therefore, I would also suggest that the second purpose of an interview is to gain an understanding of the candidate as an individual. This is where things become a little less structured.

However, there are numerous questions that can be asked to obtain this type of information, a few examples being:

  • Is work life balance important to you?

  • If so, what does work life balance mean to you?

  • What type of rewards motivate you? (money – time off – recognition)

  • What are the three most important things to you in your life?

These are just a few examples of questions that can be asked so that as an employer, when you’ve decided on the correct candidate for the job, you can feel more confident in saying “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful working relationship.”

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