The Most Strategic Interview Question to Find Successful Candidates

JANUARY 25, 2022 3 min read

If you're not able to read this post right now, listen to the recording instead! 👇

Imagine trying to interview hundreds of people at the same time. Sounds impossible, right?

Well, for the past 30+ years Lou Adler has challenged the conventional practices of hiring and planned on doing the same at his Hire With Your Head Book Club Event on August 26th. 

“I’m going to interview everyone that’s in this call at the same time. I’m going to give you the question ahead of time and I’ll even give you how the answer should look,” Lou said.

While time constraints and LinkedIn logistics prevented this mass interview from happening, his ambitious demonstration of a strategic interview question served as the perfect representation for one of his biggest messages.

The importance of combining high tech with high touchpoints when recruiting talent, specifically through video interviews.  

Keeping with this theme of interviewing, we’ve broken down some of Lou’s insights into questions and answers. If you enjoy the insights provided below, you’ll love the in-depth breakdowns in his newest book –– which we’re giving out for free during demos

If you’ve been thinking about talking to our team but never got around to doing it, use this chance to chat with us and build a plan that brings the best of our platform and Lou’s best practices together.

Before we get to the most strategic interview question, let’s get to the big question that sets it all up 👇

If you were running a factory making lots of bad parts, what would you do first?

This was one of Lou’s first questions posed to attendees. His answer was very simple: “stop production.” 

Lou explains, “If you’re making bad parts, you have to stop production. If you don’t stop and figure out what’s going wrong, you’ll continue to make bad parts.” 

He echoed the same sentiment for hiring.

“Let’s say you’re a recruiter and you present two or three candidates that a hiring manager doesn’t like. They usually say ‘Do you have any more candidates?’ when they should say ‘let’s stop and figure out what’s wrong before I see any more candidates.’”

The best way to identify if you’re going on the right path or need to “stop production?” Screening candidates through the video panel interview with a strategic interview question. 

What is the most important question to ask during the interview?

When going into a panel interview, Lou Adler urged that the recruiter and hiring manager should both be present. Based on two or three candidates brought forward, the hiring manager can determine if they pass to the final stages or not. If they don’t, you’ll be able to “stop production” and determine what’s wrong in the candidate-finding process. 

There was one strategic interview question that Lou Adler highlighted above all else as the benchmark for determining if a candidate is competent and qualified for a given role. 

💬 Consider your most significant career accomplishment. Now can you tell me about it?

Open-ended questions like these can lead many candidates down a rabbit hole. Some might not know where to start, while some might not know how to condense and edit themselves accordingly. 

As the person leading the interview process, you have the reins to set the scope of their answers in a way that highlights the information you’re really looking to assess. This makes the strategic interview question more relevant for both you and the person you’re speaking to.

One way to do this is by giving candidates a list of talking points that they can use to build out their answers. This list can look a little something like this:

1. A high-level overview of their accomplishment 

2. Their company, team, role, and dates of the accomplishment

3. How they got assigned the specific project or task. If they got assigned it, why was that? If they volunteered for it, why? 

4. Highlight the big changes that resulted from your accomplishment (with metrics)

By giving the interviewee the framework to the answer, they’re better equipped to provide the information you’re looking to assess. 

Still, the best interviews tend to be the ones that feel more like conversations rather than one-sided discussions. This framework gives interviewers the space to give feedback and ask further questions based on candidate answers. 

This feedback could include connecting a candidate’s past experiences to the current role or comparing the structure of their past team to the one they would be a part of.

Additional questions that interviewers can ask, include

1. What were one or two big challenges you’ve faced? 

2. What was your past working environment like? 

3. What were the skills you used, learned, and applied? 

4. What recognition did you get for the accomplishment? 

If you’ve gone through one or two video panel interviews and the hiring manager is not satisfied with the candidate’s qualification for a role, then you’ll know to “stop production” and assess the candidate finding process. 

This leads us to the ultimate question… 

How do you find higher-quality candidates?

While we don’t want to give away too many tips from the book, Lou Adler did share this: “With hireEZ you can find outstanding candidates, and the book will help you interview them.”

We’re honored to partner with Lou and share a common mission of helping companies make better hires. If there are any roadblocks or challenges keeping you from making better hires, we’d love to help you solve them


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