Hiring the right people is central to the continuing growth and success of your business. Conducting interviews can feel like a waste of time, unless you use that time wisely. If you ask questions that identify job skills, target personal strengths and weaknesses and get a feel for someone’s sense of teamwork and cooperation, you will get a better idea of whether a candidate is the right one for you.
That doesn’t mean you should ask snooze-inducing questions like “Do you feel you are a team player?” or fall back on the overused opener “Tell me about yourself.” Interview like an expert and get the right kind of feedback that will help you in hiring decisions.
1. “If you stayed with your current company, what would be your next move?” After you’ve broken the ice with an innocuous question or two about sports or the weather, this is a great opening question that elicits information on several levels. You get a sense of what the applicant expects — and how that jibes with the position you’re looking to fill — but you might also tap into an underlying reason the applicant wants to move on.
2. “What makes you stand out from others?” A candidate who answers the question reasonably may indicate someone with a good amount of self-esteem and some courage. On the other hand, a tepid self-description can suggest a lack of initiative, which could be a problem if you’re looking to fill a high energy position. An applicant who extols his own virtues for 15 minutes or more might have an overlarge ego, which would not fit into a business built around close teamwork.
3. “Tell me about your greatest professional accomplishment.” An applicant who can recall a particularly satisfying project, and talk about it in a balanced, comprehensive fashion, indicates someone who has a knack for focusing on important details. The question can also indicate that the applicant is good at thinking on her feet. Someone who can spin an interesting anecdote on the fly will most likely be mentally nimble on the job.
4. “Tell me about a time when you had to overcome major obstacles on the job.” To get a clear picture of the candidate’s past performance, your next several questions can be variations on this one. Guide the candidate through the variety of tasks necessary to perform the job, and listen carefully to how he or she handled challenges.
5. “What interests you about this position?” Ask this to find out how the candidate feels about the job and your company. People apply for jobs for plenty of reasons, so asking this question gives insight into their motivation. Alternate versions might include “Where does this job fit into your career path?” or “What motivated you to apply for this job?”
6. “Why did you get into this line of work?” This type of question can help you find candidates who fit your company’s culture. It’s not about finding people like you, or people with similar backgrounds, but about getting a sense of their values and motivations. Look for someone whose work ethic, motivations, and methods match the company’s. Other ways to pose the same question are “What do you like best about your current job?” or “What keeps you coming to work besides the paycheck?”
7. “What would you like to know about us?” Ask this rather than ending an interview with the cliché, ‘So, any questions?’ This tells the candidate that you really do want him to ask you questions. It shows that you encourage an open dialogue, and it helps you determine whether a candidate has done his homework. Listen for questions that demonstrate an understanding of the circumstances of the job, the company, the competitive landscape, or the industry. If he doesn’t ask any questions about the job or the business, it’s a safe bet he doesn’t really want this job for the right reasons.
At Ad-VANCE Talent Solutions, Inc., we know how to ask the questions that will deliver the best possible candidates to your door. To find out more, contact us today.