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The one question every hiring manager should ask

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Some of the best questions in interviews are the ones that lead to a number of informative follow-up questions.

As a hiring manager, part of your job is to come up with the right kinds of questions to ask in interviews so that you can weed through candidates and find the right people to join your company. This can be challenging, as it’s important to ensure that you’re gaining all the information you need to make the most well-informed decisions.

With this in mind, Lou Adler, a 36-year veteran of the recruiting industry, recently put some thought into the most important question that hiring managers can ask during interviews. His conclusion, as he writes in a recent Inc.com article, is the following inquiry:

“What single project or task would you consider your most significant accomplishment in your career to date?”

According to Adler, this is the ideal interview question because it sets hiring managers up for a series of follow-up interview questions that yield important information about candidates. For example, after hearing a detailed overview of the accomplishment, you can have follow-up questions about the biggest challenges the candidate faced, how he or she measured success, and how it helped him or her grow professionally.

“With an accomplishment big enough, and answers detailed enough to fill 20 minutes, this one line of questioning can tell an interviewer everything he or she needs to know about a candidate,” writes Adler. “The insight gained is remarkable.”

There’s certainly a lot of valuable information about candidates that hiring managers can gain from traditional interviews. That being said, it often makes sense to supplement the interview with pre employment testing to gain a better understanding of these individuals’ hard skills.