Below are a range of sift questions assessing candidates' abilities to tackle different problems and priorities to give you an idea of how to re-frame problems and scenarios into questions. These can be adjusted to suit the role and seniority you're hiring for.
This article will look at the following:
- Assessing organisational values
- Assessing day-to-day-problems
- Assessing team values
- Assessing ability to balance priorities
Assessing organisational values
Task: Passionate about our organisational values
Why is [Org name] where you want to be and why now? What skills do you want to learn in this role?
Task: Ability + interest in learning in the role. Ability to self-reflect
What skills would you like to gain from joining [Org name], what skills can you offer us?
Assessing day-to-day problems
Task: Team collaboration
Skills: teamwork, collaboration, empathy
One of your team members is falling behind on their work, which threatens to delay the project. What can you do to bring them back up to speed?
Task: Building relationships
Skills: stakeholder management, interpersonal skills
It’s your first week on the job and you’re new to the local area. You’ve been told that your first priority is to build relationships with the community. How do you spend the week?
Task: Engaging stakeholders and driving change
Skills: stakeholder management, resilience
You are leading the research into a new technology that could revolutionise the banking sector. After 3 months of work your report is ready to be published, one you authored pretty much on your own. Out of the blue, your boss informs you that you have not been named as the report author because you are not a senior manager, and only senior managers can publish reports. You are very disappointed. your boss's manager has emailed, asking you if you are feeling okay about the situation. Please write your email response below.
Task: Evaluating the opportunity to expand operations into new regions
Skills: Seeing the big picture, judgement and decision-making, fresh thinking, innovation
A colleague has proposed that the company expand their current operations into a new region, stating that this could lead to a notable increase in revenue over a 3-year period. However, company performance has declined over the past 5 years and implementing this proposal would result in a fundamental shift in working practices over the next year. How would you evaluate this proposed course of action?
Assessing team values
Define team values together
Work with the team closest to the role you're hiring for, to define the core values they deem most important. Perhaps you work as a scrum team which values a strong level of team communication over individual focus, or you prioritise fostering innovation over..
Get all ideas out there before organising them
Focus on achievable aims, ask yourselves:
- What do these values look like in action?
- How do we evaluate our ability to meet these values?
We've pulled a few questions from our Question Library to demonstrate how you can create scenarios to assess team values.
Task: Communicating empathetically within a team
Skills: Collaboration, Communication, Empathy, Forward-thinking
You and a colleague are working on a new part of the site, but you suspect you might have fallen behind. You and your colleague committed to a schedule and worked on it together. Your colleague is off sick today and the rest of the team has asked for an update. What do you do?
Task: Improving team-work on long term projects
Skills: teamwork, project management, time management
You have been asked to lead on a long-term project that your colleagues have been working on for a while now. It has faced multiple delays and those on the team have become frustrated with the lack of progress. Before the previous project lead left the business they mentioned that there were a lot of disagreements between the team, with them tending to blame each other for incomplete tasks or missed deadlines. Senior leadership are keen to get the team back on track to ensure that the project is a success. How would you approach this situation to improve teamwork and ensure that the project is a success?
Task: Managing a global project team
Skills: attention to detail, teamwork, project management
You are managing a project team made up of members from multiple departments. The project is very complex with highly detailed content. Despite this, your time together is limited to three hour-long meetings per month which cannot be changed due to the different global locations of the project team members and their other work responsibilities. How would you approach this situation?
Assessing ability to balance priorities
Task: Working in a team with limited availability
Skills: Prioritisation, Project management, Time management, Teamwork
An important project for an external stakeholder has just come in. Due to the complexity of the project and the type of analysis required, a team of 4 people, including you, have been asked to work on this in order to meet the deadline. However, the others involved in the project have stated that they have limited availability as they are also working on other tasks at the moment. How would you manage the project and your colleagues’ time to ensure that the work is delivered on time and to a good level of quality?
Tasks: Prioritising conflicting urgent tasks
Skills: Prioritisation, Organisation
It’s been a busy week and it’s now late on Friday. You have five things that you’ve yet to get to this week.
- One of the sales team asked you today to add a feature to the site to support a large sale they’re trying to close. This feature is small but the sales team want to close today, and the team’s weekly prioritisation meeting isn’t until Monday.
- A customer has emailed and is having trouble getting their reports to make sense on the site. You think there may be a bug.
- You’ve been asked if you can step in to replace a speaker at a technical event you were attending tonight. It’d be a good opportunity to talk about some aspects of tech you find interesting and good exposure for Applied, but you need time to edit a talk you gave elsewhere recently.
- You’ve not yet quantified your team’s progress against team goals for this month or set the priorities for the coming month. The meeting is on Monday morning.
- A colleague has asked your opinion on her pull request before it gets merged, but you haven’t had time to do it. The feature is scheduled to have already been released by Monday’s meeting.
Imagine you only have time to do two of these tasks, which two do you choose and why?
Understanding if people can weigh up different tasks and how they justify that is super important. We're looking for a clear justification of what they choose, focussing on user needs and giving a strong explanation for what they prioritise.