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Ten Advanced Interview Questions

1.  Hand the interviewee an income statement and ask the candidate how one could improve the company

They should be able to see a decrease in sales or a rise in expenses and should be able to react with “out of the box” ideas.  For instance, if  your company has a lot of revenue and little expenses, why not hire a marketing team or buy new technology equipment to accomplish ______________. 


2.  What companies does person think are great and why – then ask why the applicant why they didn’t apply

Consistently Here, the why is the important question, not the company.  Personally, I want my firm to be as creative and effective as Apple or Google is.  That is because they consistently come out with highly popular products or web offerings.  The management is always thinking of a way to make things better and they beat their earnings estimates time and time again.  I didn’t apply to them because I wanted to open my own business, though if I were interviewing, I would reason that the companies are too big for me and I want a smaller environment


3.  If the applicant were the CEO, what would they do to gain an edge on the competition

This is to see how entrepreneurial and how much of a critical thinker your candidate is.  You want to hear something like, I would form the best technology team, the best hr team, hire the best people and constently take their advice on how to beat our competition. 


4.  What support does the applicant need to be successful – what would they do if that support went away

A technology expert might answer this question by telling you what technology he / she needs and why it is important for the company.  If it was to get taken away, the thoughtful applicant would put themselves in a situation where they would have to “make due” and the good applicant could analyze and convey what the outcome would be.  


5.  If the applicant were in your seat, what would they ask the prospective employee

You obviously don’t want the usual, “why do you want to work here,” instead you want to see if the candidate could think on their feet, whether they are assertive and in touch with others.  This shows the creativity of the applicant too.  Whether they are in technology, sales or marketing, creativity is what makes a decent company great. 


6.  Give the applicant two marketing brochures from competitors and see which they perceive to be a bigger threat

Again, this is an analytical question designed to gauge whether or not the applicant understands the overall business.  Typically, the more well-rounded employees are the employees who contribute a lot to the business.  Not that the applicant is supposed to pick the right competitor, you are supposed to see what the applicant’s perception of a good company is. 


7.  Ask the candidate why they want to be successful

This is a “why, why” question.  If you want to make it hard, ask why as many times as possible.  For instance, an interviewee may answer “to make money.”  Though, what do they want to do with that money and why do they want do that particular thing or action?  Also, why would they feel successful if they reached the aforementioned thing or action?  This question allows you to dig deep into the candidate and will enable you to come away with information you normally would not have gotten. 


8.  Tell the candidate a rough salary and ask them why they would be worth that

This question is to see how a candidate can monetize their worth.  Candidates will often throw a number out and a good interviewer will test them on why they can contribute x amount of dollars per year.


9.  For technology candidates, ask them how their working with a specific software or hardware could help the HR         or Marketing or Sales or Executive division function

It’s great to have good IT people.  Though, it’s great to have IT people who understand your business, understand your business goals, understand the people who they are supporting and why they are there.  IT is a division that is not there to drive revenue, instead it is there to help make the life of those who drive revenue easier.


 10.  For marketing or sales, ask how they would go about managing a marketing or sales team given x budget.

In any organization, sales and marketing are closely tied and each division should rely on each other in the same way that a quarterback relies on his receivers to complete the pass.  The good applicant will come up with an original answer and will probably give you insight into ways to improve some of your processes.

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