To determine a candidate's ability to work autonomously, ask:
• Tell me about the last time your manager was not reachable and you needed their immediate input. What did you do?
• Describe for me on a scale of 1 to 10 how hands-off you prefer your managers to be?
• Describe a time in your most recent job where you were given responsibility for a project that you had little experience in but were provided with reference materials. How did you handle it and did you feel you received enough guidance?
To determine a candidate's motivation, ask:
• What motivates you?
• What are your long-term goals?
• Why are you looking to leave your current position?
• If money were no object, what are the things you would look for in your next position.
Of course there will be questions you need to know the answers for that are not listed here. My advice is to be probing - especially when the candidate is nervous and gives you short answers. Ask them why they answered the way they did and ask them to explain in detail the things they say. And remember to also allow the candidate to ask questions of you!
NEW to INTERNS OVER 40? Subscribe to our newsletter - it's FREE
Tara Gowland, Seattle Jobs Examiner, May 25, 2009