One Way To Stand Out In An Interview

We all have our favorite interview questions. (And every interviewee has questions, like the five great questions job candidates ask.)

Yet we all wish we had better questions to ask, especially when hiring the perfect person is so critical. But is there one perfect question that can identify a true superstar for your business?

Turns out there is.

Tejune Kang, founder of Six Dimensions (No. 651 on the Inc. 5000 in 2013), an IT service firm that provides expert consultants and on-demand implementation and management services, has one he swears by.

“The world is full of mediocrity,” Tejune says. “I don’t just want to compete. I want to hire superstars, because I want to win the Super Bowl.”

So Tejune starts every interview with a few basics. Assessing the candidate’s hunger and drive is important, so he asks how candidates determine their goals as well as what motivated them then and what motivates them now.

He also looks for competitive people, so he asks about the last time they competed, what they like about winning, what they don’t like about losing, how they feel when they lose–and what they do next.

Then he takes a step back:

“It sounds like you have the right degree, the right background, and the right skills, but in our company every employee has those qualities. That’s a given.

“The problem is, I just don’t see that extra something in you that all of our people have.”

And then he throws down the gauntlet:

“I’m sorry, but I just don’t think this is the right fit for you.”

Then he sits back and waits.

What happens? Nine out of 10 people immediately fold. They say, “Well, I appreciate your time.” They say, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but thanks for the interview.”

But the true gems don’t fold. They instead immediately rise to the challenge. After all, they want the job and know his company is the right fit for them. So they work hard to overcome his resistance.

They say, “I think you’re wrong. I’m here for a reason. Here’s what you’re not seeing.”

In short, superstars don’t give up–which is exactly what you want every employee to do.

“It’s one thing to have a pleasant conversation during interviews,” Tejune says. “And I definitely do that. But at some point, you also need to turn up the heat and see how people respond. Anyone can do well when things go perfectly. Superstars rise to the challenge when things don’t go their way.”


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