I've conducted over 10,000 interviews in my career, so I've probably heard more than 100,000 candidate responses to my questions. Here are the five best interview responses I have ever received:
Let me show you.
I had just asked the candidate about the Android app he developed. He pulled out his mobile and walked me through the actual app in great detail. He even talked about what he wanted to do to make it better in the next version. Then he linked directly to user reviews of the app. Best show and tell ever.
Here is a copy of the award I received from our CEO.
The candidate showed me the award that she had received from the CEO, the highest award given by the company. And she had received it as a summer intern, the first intern in the history of the company to achieve that honor. She even had the foresight to provide me with a copy that I could keep. And yes, I did show it to others.
If I can solve that problem for you, will you hire me?
He committed to have the answer to me by the following morning. It was a complex real-life problem that would be part of the job duties. We already had others working on the problem and yet he solved it in under 12 hours. I'm not sure if he stayed up all night, but he delivered and the solution worked.
There is a better way to solve that.
She went on to show me that the complex technical problem (which we had already used for countless interviews) could be solved in fewer steps than we had realized. Her answer became our new standard.
I've already delivered those results and can do it again, but even better.
She had experience in the key competency area (which was new for us in the area of government contracting), so she walked through the situation and tasks she faced, the specific action she took and the results achieved. A full S-T-A-R behavioral response. And then she showed a copy of the industry award she had received for the results.
One other note—all five of these candidates received job offers. Not just for the responses above, but the response was part of the overall decision criteria. I would love to say that I hired all five candidates, but the first one (the mobile app developer) turned down our offer, choosing instead to go to work for Google.
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