Smart people don’t have all the answers to every problem. They just know how to find the answers. So, it is not “what” people know that makes them successful. It is “how” they go about solving problems, accomplishing tasks, or dealing with unexpected situations that makes the difference.
During an interview, how do you discover a person’s capacity for success? It all boils down to asking one key question, according to Lou Adler, thought leader and author of Hire with your Head. Lou says the #1 Best Interview Question is, “Please tell me about your most significant business accomplishment?” Throughout this article, we will label this the “Accomplishment” question.
When asked this interview question, a candidate will often pause to think of a good example so give them time to process their thoughts. Once the candidate shares the accomplishment, they may need some prodding to share significant details. I recommend asking open-ended, follow-up questions that help the candidate tell the whole story of his/her accomplishment. Ask lots of what, when, where, how and why questions. During the next 15-20 minutes, you will learn more about how the candidate thinks, acts, reacts, manages and performs than from asking a laundry list of interview questions. The Accomplishment question and your follow-up questions become the quintessential behavioral based interview.
For close to 20 years, we have asked candidates this Accomplishment question. It provides insight in a multitude of areas. Two significant things I learn from a candidate’s answer is what they value and how they communicate. The accomplishment the candidate describes will enlighten you as to whether they prefer individual or team work, people or tasks, and if they are introverted or extroverted. For those who use DISC or other like-kind behavioral assessments, the Accomplishment question provides a glimpse of their communication style which helps to determine if they are a good fit for the position.
For hiring managers who have limited time or who struggle to get results from standard interview questions, just ask the Accomplishment question. It is simple and provides a well-rounded snapshot of the candidate.
If you need help in sourcing and interview strategies, give us a call at 317-578-1310.