The devil is in the detail, a popular saying goes. But how to assess the level of attention to detail of a job applicant? I know about several ways of doing so, and targeted questions are just one of them. Let’s analyze five methods, one by one.
You lead people or manage teams
Having people report to you, whether direct or indirect, shows responsibility and organizational skills.
Interview questions that target attention to detail
You can always add few question to the mix, questions that somehow indicate the level of attention to detail of each job applicant. To such questions belong:
You double-check processes to ensure accuracy
Are you someone who always double-checks your work before submitting it? If so, mention this as an example of how you’re detail oriented at work or in school.
Contact their former boss for feedback
Another method of learning more about their attention to detail (and about anything else ) consists in contacting their former bosses. You can inquire directly about any quality, or you can simply ask them to describe the employee, and see whether they include “detail-oriented” in their description.
This method has some drawbacks, however. First of all, if you interview a fresh graduate who never had any job then there is no employer to call to. Secondly, as you surely experienced first hand, not all employer-employee relationships end on good terms.
I remember several instances when I contacted former employer to get some feedback on the skills of a job applicant, and their former boss told me things that contrasted sharply with everything I learned about the job applicant up to that point, with the help of tests and questions… Something was not right.
Calling former employers to get references is definitely a good idea, but you should not based your judgment solely or primarily on that, unless you know their former boss and are sure that you can rely on their judgement.
Why Employers Ask “Are You Detail Oriented?”
If the interviewer is asking, “Are you a detail-oriented person?” then they’re asking because they feel that detail-oriented people will perform better in their roles.
If you don’t show that you’re detail oriented, they’ll worry that you’ll make mistakes or need constant reminders in the role.
Part of what a hiring manager looks for in the interview is whether you seem like you’ll need a lot of hand-holding in a role. Constant reminders, check-ins, etc.
By hiring a highly detail-oriented person, they’re hoping you’ll catch mistakes and pay attention to small details so they don’t have to constantly remind you.
This will save them time since detail-oriented people tend to need help less frequently.
Detail oriented means being careful and thoughtful in your work, and delivering your work on time and accurately.
Detail-oriented people notice and care about each aspect of their work. They check their work for errors. They take their time when necessary instead of rushing at the cost of accuracy.
There isn’t one single set of “detail-oriented skills,” as being detail oriented may look different in different jobs.
But overall, a detail-oriented person tends to make fewer mistakes, need fewer reminders about their work, and deliver work on time without missing deadlines.
Here are some examples of being detail oriented, so you can start to get ideas for what to include in your answer: