Hiring managers spend countless hours asking the wrong interview questions. Many of those interviews end up as job offers to workers who had no business being hired in the first place.

Typical interview questions like "Why should we hire you" must be axed in favor of behavioral interview questions that will eliminate vagueness and get to the root of the answer managers are looking for. 

The is because behavioral interviewing points to past performance as the best predictor of future performance. In essence, if you ask behavioral questions, you're no longer asking questions that are hypothetical, but are instead asking questions that must be answered based upon fact.

The difference: Instead of asking a candidate how he or she would behave in a particular situation, the hiring manager or interviewer will ask a job candidate to describe how he or she did behave.

The interviewer questions and probes (think of peeling layers from an onion), asks for details, and will not allow a job candidate to theorize or generalize.

This gives hiring managers a clear edge; candidates may not get a chance to deliver any prepared stories or scripted answers.

11 Questions to ask

If your company values workers who have an entrepreneurial nature, take the initiative, and have a can-do attitude, here are 11 behavioral interview questions that can draw revealing answers and get you on your way to finding the right employees.

  1. Tell us about an idea you started that involved collaboration with your colleagues that improved the business.
  2. When you had extra time available at your last job, describe ways you found to make your job more efficient.
  3. At times you may be asked to do many things at once. Tell me how you would decide what is most important and why.
  4. Tell me a time when you identified a problem with a process and what steps did you take to improve the problem?
  5. What processes or techniques have you learned to make a job easier, or to be more effective? What was your discovery process and how did you implement your idea?
  6. Give me an example of a new idea you suggested to your manager within the last six months. Describe steps you have taken to implement your idea.
  7. Tell me about a time when you went beyond your manager's expectations in order to get the job done.
  8. Tell me about a time when you identified a new, unusual, or different approach for addressing a problem or task.
  9. Describe a project or idea (not necessarily your own) that was implemented or carried out successfully primarily because of your efforts.
  10. How do you react when faced with many hurdles while trying to achieve a goal? How do you overcome the hurdles?
  11. Everyone has good days and bad days at work. Take your time and think back to a really good day you had and tell me why it was a good day.

When you consider the answers you should be looking for in response to these questions, you are assessing several factors: What motivates your candidate? What is the work environment that he or she finds best suited for high performance? Is the work environment consistent with your job candidate's needs to take the initiative and be a self-starter?

For the most part, you want to listen for those motivational cues that tell you the job candidate is about helping others, creating something, finishing something, doing whatever it takes to succeed, and making the team better.