Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Interviewing

After interviewing dozens of potential candidates at my current employer, I ran into this piece on the "One-Question Interview"

If you were allowed to ask only one question during the course of the interview, this would be it:

Please think about your most significant accomplishment. Now, could you tell me all about it?

To see why this simple question is so powerful, try it out on yourself. Imagine you're the candidate and I've just asked you this question. What accomplishment would you select? Then imagine over the course of the next 5-20 minutes that I obtained the following information from you about this accomplishment:

  • 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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