We’ve all heard of recruiters using silly brain teaser type questions in their interviews. It’s possible that at some point you’ve even used a few of them yourself.  Not sure what we’re talking about? Here are a few example questions:

Like most interview questions, these silly brain teasers are meant to explore the candidate’s thought process and possibly help determine culture fit. However, most recruiters and companies have phased them out, as they’ve realized that even bad candidates could come up with a smart answer for a brainteaser.

Luckily for all of us, these ridiculous questions aren’t to understand where candidates are coming from and how they’ll perform on the job.  Here are 7 better questions to ask on interviews and why to include them in the interview.

  1.    Using everything you’ve learned about this position, the team you’ll work with, and our company, how do you feel you’ll make a contribution?

Have they been listening?  You’ll find out quickly when asking this question. You’ll also gain insight into what they feel are the important pieces of their job and how they wish to help their team.

  1.    Share a time when you set lofty goals. What steps did you take to achieve them? What was the end result?

This question falls under Behavioral Interviewing and should prompt them to talk about a real situation to help predict how they’ll react in the future. Their answer should help you learn if their goals and processes to meet goals will jive with your culture.  Was the goal mostly personal or was it team-based?  Did they need to work with people in order to meet the goal? Jot down as much as you can and ask follow up questions to probe further.

  1.    What project or accomplishment has been the one you’re most proud of?

Let them brag a bit here. While it’s not 100% of the time, people often succeed on tasks they are passionate about. Having your candidate speak to their major accomplishments will show you the kind of work they’re interested in. If that specific project won’t exist for them in this role, it could be something they’d miss in the job.

  1.    What do you look for in a manager?

Will they fit with the management culture at your company? Do they need someone giving clear direction and micromanaging them for success? You’ll learn all of this in their answers.

  1.    How did your responsibilities grow or change while at your previous job?

Did they start as a marketing coordinator and work their way up to a marketing manager? Or maybe they started off in one department and found themselves in another.  This question will help you determine their performance and flexibility when handling different tasks. Companies don’t promote non-performers, so hearing about added responsibility is a good thing.

  1.    Talk about a specific project that you didn’t succeed on. What would you change next time and what did you learn from the situation?

Here’s another Behavioral Interview Question that aims to learn how they’ll perform in the future. Make it clear that you’re not judging them on the failure, but are curious about their learning process. Anyone that says they’ve never made a mistake is lying. Good employees have failed and made mistakes earlier in their career and learned as much as they could from it.

  1.    If today was one year after your start date, which accomplishments would we be celebrating right now?

Similar to question 1, this question will shed light on what they feel the company and team needs from them. Which processes do they want to change or improve? Are there specific clients they want to go after? Is there a new product they think the company needs?  You can take it a step further by probing to ask about their processes to achieve the goals they mention.

Bonus: What questions do you have for me/us?

Smart candidates prepare questions. Some of them may be answered throughout the interview, but a great candidate knows to ask at least a couple at the end. Questions about work culture, team, management, and factors for success are what you want to hear.

Which of the above questions is your favorite? Do you have a question that you always ask that’s not on this list? Tweet us at @goWePow to let us know! Remember, behavioral interview questions are perfect for video interviews.