Five Interview Questions You Can Ask to Assess Attention to Detail

A potential employee’s attention to detail can be a critical trait for a successful fit, but difficult to judge accurately in the short window of an interview if you don’t intentionally assess it. Below are five interview questions you can ask to help with this assessment.

Before the Interview

Before the candidate even steps into the interview, take errors and typos in their cover letter and resume seriously, as it both suggests a lack of precision and lack of thorough review.

You can also learn a great deal from how a person presents themselves. While you never want to judge on appearance alone, if a person arrives disheveled and pulls wrinkled resumes out of a plastic bag, you can make some assumptions about their general attention to small things.

“How do you make sure you’ve understood the key aspects of an assignment?”

Detail orientation starts with knowing what the details are in the first place. It isn't only about precision.

This question allows you to gauge whether a candidate can comprehend and internalize an assignment, and if they have cultivated the skills and strategies necessary to make sure that they can do this repeatedly. It also taps into whether they can communicate effectively with supervisors, co-workers, and customers.

“What processes do you use to prevent mistakes?”

A talent only becomes useful when it is honed and perfected. If a candidate can't describe how they maintain their attention to detail, it's likely they don't do it on a regular basis.

“Tell me about a time you worked on a project that required absolute accuracy.”

Perfecting any skill requires practice. Imagine you want to hire a violinist. You’d asked them how often they practice. They respond, “Never…actually, I just bought the thing yesterday." With an answer like that, they probably aren't joining your symphony.

Similarly, a person who has been forced to keep tabs on small details in their previous work is likely to have developed stellar habits. The more experience they have, the better.

“Tell me about a time you had to complete an important project on a tight deadline.”

It's easier to be accurate when you have a lot of time and can produce work at a leisurely pace. Things get more harried when schedules constrict.

The real test of a person's precision comes when they have to achieve on a tight deadline. People who have produced mission-critical work under time pressure are a safer bet than candidates who have never had to face that tension.

“Tell me about a time you made a mistake and what you did to correct it.”

Even the most detail-oriented person will eventually make a mistake. It's a matter of percentages. Detail-oriented employees will make very few errors. Sloppy employees will make many.

Beyond gauging a candidate’s probable accuracy, you’ll want to know how they’ll respond when they eventually do make a mistake. You don't want someone who is going to get defensive or try to cover up the error. You want someone forthright and willing to correct the misstep.

Looking to take the guesswork out of finding precise and attentive employees? United Personnel has a variety of formal prescreening tools for both job-specific skills and soft skills to bring in the talented, detail-oriented workers you require in order to take your team to the next level.

Contact United Personnel today to find out more.