Prepare A List Of Interview Questions In Advance
Plan out a list of interview questions to ask a candidate based on the job requirements and their resume or CV.
The number of interview questions you should prepare depends on what stage your candidates are at in the interview process. Initial phone screens, for example, are often 20-30 minutes long, which means its a good idea to prepare 5-10 questions. For longer in-person or video interviews, come up with 10-15 open-ended interview questions and expect to ask six or seven within an hour.
Be sure to include open-ended behavioral interview questions so candidates can elaborate on their skills and experience, and display their ability to tackle challenging topics. These types of questions will also help you assess a candidates critical thinking and communication skills.
Other types of interview questions to consider asking include:
When you create new interview questions, always check with your legal department to ensure youre not violating any compliance regulations.
During The Job Interview
You’ve done your research, you brought copies of your resume, and you’ve prepared responses for questions that might arise based on your resume. Now the time for the interview has come, and with that comes the oft-dreaded part of interviewing: the questions.
“Candidates get nervous about job interviews because there’s the potential they’ll be asked an open-ended question that will give the interviewer a secret view into who the candidate really is,” said Rich Milgram, founder and CEO of career network Nexxt. “But the real secret is that a lot of the time the interviewer doesn’t know what the right answer is either, or they’ll admit that there is no right answer, so just relax.”
Glassdoor recently compiled a list of the most asked questions to expect in an interview:
- What are your strengths?
- Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
- Why should we hire you?
Prepare The Right Questions
It should come as no surprise that the right job interview questions will form the backbone of an effective interaction with a candidate, delivering essential information about the potential employee including their skills, job fit and even cultural fit. Over a period of time, you can track which interview questions worked best to ascertain the suitability of candidates and which answers stood out, and use these to form a blueprint for future interviews.
When interviewing candidates, steer away from close-ended questions that only draw out a yes or no reply. Instead, encourage continuous dialogue by using open-ended and behavioural questions. Questions that often start with Tell me about a time are great examples of this.
Behavioural-based questions require the applicant to evaluate what they would do when presented with a realistic work situation by using examples of past performance, which can indicate how they might perform in a future role.
The list below offers some examples of open-ended and behaviour-based job interview questions:
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Why Conducting Effective Interviews Is So Important
Effective interviews mean a stronger, more effective business. Get the right people on your team and youre on your way to success. As much as CVs, phone screenings and aptitude tests can tell you, its interview stage where you get a real sense of whether or not a potential candidate has got what it takes to fill the role youre interviewing for.
Whats more, a poor hiring decision can be a costly mistake. Recruiting the wrong person damages businesses from employee turnover and retention to business productivity, your interview process affects more than the roles you fill.
Your interview process is there to:
- assess an individuals personality and fit with your team and culture
- evaluate a candidates confidence and communication skills
- assess and confirm a candidates knowledge and ability
- understand a candidates interpersonal abilities.
Your interview is also your chance to sell the job and your company. Top candidates will be interviewing elsewhere. This is your chance to explain to them why your SME is the one they need to work for.
Optimize Your Interview Process
Whichever employee you end up sending a job offer letter to, you want to optimize the candidate experience for each applicant. Using recruitment software will make it easy to see all the candidates currently in the pipeline for various roles.
Resources for HR professionals
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Top Ten Tips For Effective Interviewing
Did you know most hiring managers decide whether they are going to hire someone in the first 3 minutes of an interview? And that is not enough time to conduct an effective interview. In fact, ineffective job interviews often lead to bad hires and that is a costly proposition when you factor in training costs, wages, and lost productivity when you have to do it all over again.
In order to improve your odds, you need to be prepared. Conducting a structured interview requires time and forethought. Some studies suggest businesses spend at least one hour preparing for an hour-long interview. Its well worth the investment.
Here are the Top Ten tips for conducting more effective job interviews and hiring the right person.
1. Have a current, accurate and enticing job description.Job descriptions should identify the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities that are critical for the candidate to succeed at the job. What critical need does the company have, and how will the candidate fulfill that need? Make sure to also identify the personality traits required for the specific job. Once youve performed the job analysis, develop the interview questions based upon the determined criteria.
2. Create a structured interview process.Structured interviews help ensure all candidates are treated similarly, and research has indicated they are more effective than unstructured job interviews. To create a structured interview:
Dig Deeper With Follow
Many candidates will have prepared responses to commonly asked interview questions. You may want to take the conversation further with additional questions. Follow-up interview questions are a great way to learn more about a candidate. You can ask how they solved a problem that could be relevant to your company, for example.
Phone Screening Interview First
This is your chance to quickly assess whether the candidate is worth having an hour-long conversation with. Save yourself time. Ask basic questions which will help you rule them out or progress them to a face-to-face interview. Good questions will assess non-negotiables, for example, if youre trying to fill a full-time role, you want to know if the person is available for those hours.
Understand Your Role In The Interview
How to conduct an interview well will always lie in your ability to avoid common hiring mistakes and to assess potential talent in the interview process. But keep in mind that more new hires fail due to personality-culture mismatch than technical skills mismatch. Thats why you need to keep a keen eye out for compatible styles in terms of communication, pace, constructive criticism, and work hour commitments in candidates responses.
When youre figuring out how to interview a candidate, make sure you have a good balance between interviewing and educating. Follow the 80-20 paradigm, so that the candidate speaks for 80% of the time at the beginning of the interview, and you speak for 20% of the time after youve completed your initial round of interview question.
During your education period, always be willing to offer a good amount of career advice and direction. After all, every relationship gives us an opportunity to share our wealth of knowledge and experience with others: If you see the interview as an opportunity to give a gift to someone else whether you hire them or not youll find that the communication becomes a lot more natural and enjoyable.
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Consider Holding A Group Interview
Instead of using the traditional interview process, you may want to consider bringing in multiple candidates as part of a group interview. This interviewing technique is useful if you need to hire a relatively large number of people quickly and for similar roles.
Group interviews can also help you assess how a candidate interacts in a team environment. By providing a group of candidates with a test assignment, you can observe teamwork skills as well as how they apply their professional abilities to complete a task.
Pitch Our Company To Me As If I Were Buying Our Product/service
This is a unique and more challenging approach to the generic “What does our company do?” question. It forces candidates to not only drum up the research they’ve done to prepare for the interview, but also show they can use this research to craft a persuasive message that would be valuable in a business situation.
A good answer to this question:
This will come more naturally to some candidates than others. Above all, good answers to this interview question are able to combine an accurate definition of your company with what it offers to your core customer that they need or can’t get anywhere else.
Keep in mind that someone interviewing for a sales or marketing position might find it easier than someone interviewing for a non-client facing role — and that’s okay. You aren’t necessarily assessing their delivery. But it’ll be interesting to see how each candidate thinks through and gives their response.
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What Has Surprised You About This Interview Process So Far
This is a question no candidate can really prepare for, and it’ll give you some indication of how candidates are feeling about the whole thing. Plus, you can see how they think on their feet.
A good answer to this question:
You’re looking for specifics here — something about the office space the personality of the team an assignment they were given to complete.
Honest answers are good answers, and answers that are directed at you are even better, as they show the candidate is confident speaking their mind in front of decision-makers. For instance, maybe the candidate was surprised you asked them about something on their resume that they don’t personally pay much attention to.
Whats The Biggest Decision Youve Had To Make In The Past Year Why Was It So Big
Here’s a great way to figure out how a candidate approaches decision-making. Were they quick to make that big decision, or did it take them a long time? Did they spend most of their time reflecting on it by themselves or fleshing it out with others? How did they make a plan?
A good answer to this question:
Candidates’ answers could be work-related or personal. In addition to revealing their thought process, as described above, an effective response to this interview question will also show how the candidate was able to prioritize what was most important when each possible option might have had its own advantages and disadvantages.
If your candidate had hiring power in a previous position, for example, maybe they found it hard to choose between two job candidates of their own. A good answer might show that they saw immediate skill in one candidate but long-term potential in the other. Although both people had usable strengths, your candidate chose the second person because he or she offered he best return on investment.
Provide A Conformable Environment
Interviewing can make some candidates nervous, especially if they’re new to the process. Making the interview process and space as comfortable as possible can help them relax and better show their personality. Send the candidate any necessary information about the interview, like where to park, how to get to a certain elevator or who to talk to when they enter your building. Having this information in advance gives the candidate enough time to arrive early and relax some before the interview.
At the beginning of the interview, ask some simple questions to help them feel more comfortable. These questions can be as easy as seeing if they had trouble finding the building or if they need anything, like water or coffee. Once your candidate is situated, you can officially begin the interview with a simple question about the candidate, like “Tell me about yourself.” Smile and make eye contact to encourage the candidate.
Difference Between A Structured And Unstructured Job Interview
A structured interview is a standardized, consistent method for comparing job candidates, unlike unstructured or semi-structured interviews.
In structured job interviews, all the candidates are asked the same questions and their answers are rated on the same scale. Unstructured interviews, as their name suggests, lack this structure and consistency.
Unstructured interviews are the ones in which interviewers come up with questions spontaneously. As a result, each candidate is asked different questions, which makes it much harder to compare candidates fairly.
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Acting Overconfident Or Entitled
Valerie Streif, marketing manager at GetMyBoat, warns job candidates to pay attention to their tone.
“Something that hurts a lot of job seekers is being overconfident and unaware of how they sound in an interview,” she said.
While being confident of your skills and excited about the value you can add to a company will benefit you, there is a fine line between poised and arrogant. Acting as if you are entitled to a position will instantly seem rude, no matter how qualified you are. Remember that you were invited to interview, and stay quietly confident and humble.
Share Discussion Topics With Candidate
As we mentioned above, employment interviews arent exactly a walk in the park for job seekers. Searching for a job in general is quite stressful, so when a candidate finally lands an interview, the pressure only gets more intense.
To ease the stress of the job interview, employers often choose to share some or all of the discussion topics with the candidates beforehand. This gives them time to prepare their answers and put their best foot forward.
When a candidate can walk into the interview prepared, they can speak with more confidence and feel comfortable enough to act true to themselves.
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How To Interview Candidates
Effective interviews expose potential red flags, reveal strengths, ensure that expectations fit with salary, compensation, and personality, and verify qualifications, skills, and abilities. They’re an essential part of the hiring process.
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How To Be A Good Interviewer
Interviewing is a crucial part of the recruiting process. To be a good interviewer, you have to be prepared, ask the right questions, listen carefully, and evaluate the candidate to see if they’re the right fit for your company.
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Build Rapport With The Interviewee
Help the interviewee feel more comfortable and show that theyre valued by giving them your full attention. This means turning your phone on silent and clearing your schedule to minimise interruptions. You want to give a good impression of both yourself and the company. Remember, the candidate is interviewing you too especially in the candidate short market we are currently facing. Reading the candidates resume before going into the interview is another way of making them feel valued because it makes the candidate think youre interested in them.
Take notes every time something significant is mentioned. This helps the candidate feel like they are being heard.
Top Recruiter Tip: Print the candidates resume and use it as a prompt if you need to in the interview.
Focus Your Questions On The Job
Ensure that your questions expose the specific skills and qualifications a candidate has that apply to the position at hand. Keep in mind that open-ended questions are favourable because they allow candidates to explore their strengths and qualifications while also sharing insight about their communication style.
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What Have You Done Professionally That Is Not An Experience You’d Want To Repeat
A candidate’s answer to this question will give you an idea of how they viewed work they weren’t very happy with, which is bound to happen to everyone in every job at one point or another.
A good answer to this question:
HubSpot’s VP of Customer Service and Support Michael Redbord says candidates’ answers generally fall into a few categories:
Even the category of what they consider an experience they wouldn’t want to repeat is interesting, says Redbord. When you talk about extreme experiences that get people emotional, it can be very revealing. Keep in mind, however, that good answers don’t have to fall into any one category — what’s most important is if they extracted value from the experience despite their lack of interest in doing it again.
Strategies Of Effective Interviewing
The executive engaged in the normal conduct of business devotes much of his time to interviewing. However, there is an appalling lack of effort given to systematic attempts at building improvements into this age-old process. Interviewing remains one of those activities which we think we know all about merely because we have been doing it so long we have been lulled by habit. It seems apparent that a modest effort aimed at an analysis of our interviewing techniques would yield generous returns.
In the broad sense, interviewing is the process whereby individuals exchange information. The individuals may be concerned with a job opening, a promotion, a special assignment, a product sale, information for intelligence purposes, a proposed merger, or other questions. The information exchanged need not be limited to facts. In business, particularly, such products of an interview as meaning and understanding are oftentimes more significant than objective factual statements.
- The proper kind of preparation for the interview.
- Value of such procedures as having an outline of points to be covered and taking notes.
- Use of questions and questioning techniques.
- The kind and amount of control that the interviewer should exercise over the discussion.
- Analysis and evaluation of information obtained.