Measure Value Alignment Through Out-of-the Ordinary Interview Questions

Finding a match in the skills and qualifications department can still lead to the wrong candidate. What may be missing is value alignment. Does a candidate have the intrinsic qualities that align with your organization’s culture, and how does a recruiter or hiring manager find that out?

One way is to focus on the organization’s core values and ask specific questions to uncover a potential new hire's values. Amy Zimmerman, head of Global People Operations at Kabbage, an Atlanta-based company that provides businesses with automated funding services, and Jennifer Richard, Kabbage's head of Learning and Development, have crafted several interview questions designed to do just that in an article for the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM). These questions are reserved for a final panel interview and help shed light on how candidates think about themselves, about others, and how they think through problems.

##**Name three negative personal qualities that someone close to you would say you possess.**##
This question explores self-awareness and reflects the core value of transparency. “We are looking for candidates who not only understand what their true negatives are but also are willing to admit them,” Zimmerman and Richard write. On the “unacceptable” list of answers? "I'm a perfectionist" or "workaholic" or other positives-disguised-as-negatives.

##**Ask candidates to add two fractions.**##
Probing how candidates handle an unexpected question or situation is the goal here, not math skills. Since days are rarely predictable, how someone reacts to a curveball can help determine their success. It also explores the core values of innovation, assessing whether potential new hires are resourceful, capable of thinking outside the box, and quick on their feet.

Reacting to a sea of changing circumstances and environments is where veteran job seekers will shine, since they are accustomed to adapting to new scenarios while maintaining focus on mission accomplishment.

##**Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 as best in the world at your role). What keeps you from being a 10?**##

Self-awareness takes center stage again here, as does growth, ambition and whether they aspire to be the best. Rating themselves with perfect scores is not the goal – what’s more important is knowing the reasons behind a candidate’s rating of him/herself, and what steps they are taking to improve.
Veterans must constantly evaluate their performance and the performance of their teams, as well as mentoring, training, and taking steps to develop professionally to move up the ranks.

##**Finish this sentence. Most people I meet are xxxx.**##

It’s important to determine how a potential new team member views others. A response of "interesting," is off-limits, as the authors point out doesn’t reveal much about the candidate, and could also be code for something negative in disguise.