Show me an employer and I will show you someone who has challenges with hiring. The whole process is naturally rigged. People want to sell themselves into a desired position, and employers want to attract talent they optimistically think are great. Everyone is hoping it’s a good fit, but the truth doesn’t really surface until way down the line.

The interview is one of the hardest parts of hiring. It’s wildly variant and hopelessly subjective. Somehow, you have to create questions that are revealing without telegraphing the "right" answers. Ultimately, you need the perfect set of questions to surface the truth so you can interpret the data as it relates to your company's core values.

Here is my favorite interview question, and more insights from my Inc. colleagues.

1. Describe your entire, perfect day, in detail.

The challenge in hiring is to figure out the candidate's true desires in life. After 90 days, the new-job shine will wear off and everyone will deal with the realities of the ordinary day-to-day. Give the applicants a one-page document with 24 hours listed. Ask them to fill in each hour as if they were having the best workday of their life. You will glean plenty of information about their priorities, their productivity, and their emotional intelligence. Don’t believe me? Try it on yourself.

Want to read more from Kevin?

2. What makes you uniquely qualified for this job?

The reason I ask this question is to get to the heart of what skills and experience the candidate brings to the table, and where the potential gaps may be. I would then ask the candidate to give me specific examples of exactly how his or her experience would be used in the new job. --The Leadership Guy

Want to read more from Peter? .

3. Tell me about the three factors most responsible for your success.

When your candidate answers this question in an "it's all about me" fashion, you may have a selfish--perhaps controlling--person on your hands. A me-centric answer, rather than a "we" or "us" response, demonstrates the behavior of someone who's probably not a team player. If you are looking for a positive, collaborative individual (of course you are), listen for at least a few comments about teams and group contribution. --The Successful Soloist

Want to read more from Marla? .

4. What do you want to be when you grow up?

I ask this question, just that way, no matter the age of the interviewee. The response tells me a lot about the interview candidate. It gauges the person's sense of humor and our potential compatibility. If he or she doesn't find the question humorous, we may not be a great match to work together.

This question serves as an alternative to asking "Where do you see yourself in five years?" It lets me know if someone sees the position as just a job or as a steppingstone to something bigger for his or her career. It clues me in to the goals and aspirations someone has. --Lean Forward

Want to read more from Eric? .

Published on: Sep 10, 2015
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.