As a general rule, recruiters love stories and they’re attracted to story tellers. Any candidate can give short but technically accurate answers, but the most interesting interviews take the form of a story telling session. That’s why I like this question.
With this question, the story is (potentially) the meat, but it’s the selection process that I’m more interested in. Why did the candidate select that story? What did they hope to express?
This question elicits a long answer, so it’s a good one for assessing a candidate’s verbal communication skills. Is the story well-organized and thought-out? Does the candidate use too many filler words? For that matter, is the story interesting?
I like asking questions and then digging in to the answers, and this question sets me up nicely for 3 or 4 follow-up questions. If a candidate tells me a work story, I’ll pick one or two areas to delve into with questions like “Would you do it the same way if faced with that situation again?”
I especially like asking “Why did you choose to tell me that particular story?” In general, I try to get into a candidate’s head and understand where they’re coming from, and this question really helps.