The Golden Rule When Writing Good Interview Questions 5th March 2018

Our number 1 rule when writing an interview question:

Avoid at all costs using the word relating to what you are trying to assess.

So for example, if I am trying to assess organisational skills, I will not ask the candidate to “tell me about their organisational skills”.

The reason for this is simple, if I ask them about their organisational skills they immediately know I am assessing their organisational skills. This is very easily faked; even a disorganised person knows what good organisation is.

A far better question would be “can you please tell me how you start your day?”

In answer to this question, an organised person will start telling us about their plans and lists whereas a disorganised person will have a different answer. By asking an indirect question you have got the truth.

Our aim as interviewers has to be to get to the truth.

It is understandable when a candidate does not tell the absolute whole truth; there is a big difference between wanting to present your best side and telling an outright lie.

Which is why the original question about organisation is so ineffective. It gives the candidate the opportunity to give a good answer to impress you when, in reality, you are both better off with the truth.

Asking indirect questions, with no mention of the word relating to what you are trying to assess, will provide a much more accurate picture of your candidates. 

Read more from our Recruitment 2.0 news series here.