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2 Good Types of Interview Questions

by
Todd Raphael
Feb 24, 2012, 5:28 am ET

So Mark Murphy’s not a fan of many of the interview questions commonly used, saying they don’t differentiate between better and worse performers, and ultimately don’t result in better hires.

The questions the Leadership IQ CEO does like can loosely be split up into categories: attitudinal questions, and coachability questions.

The first type of questions help you actually tell who’s a better than a candidate than the next one, rather than having each person just tell you all their success stories. The second category — coachability — gets into what someone’s boss would say about them.

He explains more, and offers specific sample questions, in the 6-minute video below.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Dr. Tom Janz

    Do we really need another tall, good-looking, well-dressed guy with a big smile and great hair telling us that behavioral interviewing doesn’t work? (Who then proceeds to offer a tiny variation that overcomes all problems). After all, we already have Lou Adler. And when that mind-blowing variation consists of catching candidates doing something wrong in order to get a read on their “attidude”, better check your wallet. The ideas for exploring coachability are pretty useful, but could still be accomplished with less rapport robbing smugness by asking the candidate to describe the most valuable lesson they learned from Boss X, going on to probe for their best example of putting that lesson to good use.

  2. Carol Schultz

    Good interview Todd. Mark is right on in his assessment on how questions need to be asked and for what purpose. I need to disagree with Tom Janz’s comments. I don’t think Mark is telling folks that BBI doesn’t work. He’s taking specific company needs/requirements and asking questions that tell us if a candidate has what we’re looking for. This is just what companies should be doing. Where this breaks down is when the company doesn’t really know what they need (they think they do, but don’t) and don’t know how to ask the proper questions in an interview. Mark isn’t telling the audience to catch the candidate doing something wrong. What he’s saying (I believe) is that you need to determine how someone handles a potentially negative situation. What this does (i also use this type of questioning with both my private clients when prepping them for interviews and with my corporate clients when teaching them how to interview) is provide insight into the individual, which in turn gives us information on how we may manage the person if we hire him. Make sense?

  3. Ryann Cheung

    Good summary Carol.

    I was pleased to see that some of what I didn’t like about the last segment were addressed here (BBI does work, it just doesn’t work the way people normally structure the questions).

    Agree with Carol that Tom may be incorrect about ‘catching a candidate doing wrong’ – the point is that you want to find out how a candidate handles a negative situation w/out coaching them using the phrase ‘successfully handled’. I once had a candidate tell me that he didn’t agree with his (class) team’s approach to an assignment, so he changed it before turning it in w/out telling the rest of the team! (Hello, no chance at a 2nd interview!)

  4. Simplifying All The Opinions About Interview Questions « Rowland Mountain & Associates, Inc.

    [...] article, “2 Good Types of Interview Questions,” has a six minute video of Mark Murphy speaking about his effective way of interviewing candidates, [...]

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