By design, the interview process is flawed. Both interviewer and interviewee want to know what the other is really like. But it's easy to hide your flaws and make sure that only the squeaky-clean best stuff shines through.

Though it's not easy to identify someone's true character in an interview, you can get pretty close with the right questions. In a recent sponsored post for Quartz, Slack offers a few suggestions. Slack has formulated a list of questions that help its interviewers better know their candidates. These unusual questions also aim to get at the heart of a key personality quality that's especially difficult to interview for.

Slack was Inc.'s 2016 Company of the Year. The messaging app for companies and teams launched about two years ago and quickly became the fastest-growing B2B app. No matter which role it needs to fill, the key personality quality it looks for in potential hires is empathy for its more than four million active daily users.

"It's not easy to interview for that quality, but one way is to give candidates an opportunity to open up about themselves and their experiences," Slack writes. "In doing so, candidates reveal how they think about the world and approach problems and solutions."

1. What's a personal opinion you've had and changed in the past year?

This question reveals how humble someone is. Even the smartest people must admit they're sometimes wrong. Given new information or insight, are they willing to change their stance on something? How an applicant answers this question also reveals their willingness to learn from those around them -- and ultimately if they might be a good collaborator in a team environment.

2. What's the best (or worst) piece of advice you've gotten?

"Where do you see yourself in five years?" is a softball question. It's far too easy to knock that one out of the park. You can say almost anything and come off as brilliant, motivated, and accomplished, because the future hasn't happened yet.

Instead of asking applicants to make up accomplishments for their ideal future, this question is particularly telling because it asks people to reflect on the past. How someone has adapted, changed, and grown over the years can reveal how they might do so in the future.

3. Tell me a story about how luck played a role in your life.

The topic of privilege can be a tricky one. Many people have it. Many people feel uncomfortable about it. It can tough to admit that you have advantages that have contributed to your success.

But if someone is honest about the place of privilege they've come from, they're already eons ahead of an applicant who isn't. How someone answers this anecdotal question helps reveal if they have humility -- or if they don't.

What about you? How would you answer these questions? And if you're on the other side of the interviewing table, would you consider putting these questions to applicants?

Published on: Jan 12, 2017
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