Let’s be honest – interviewing job candidates can be tough.
Not everyone enjoys the interview process, and it can be particularly difficult when you are not sure what questions to ask or if the interview process itself lacks structure. Even if you enter an interview armed with a laundry list of basic questions, you might find yourself struggling to come up with the sort of follow-up questions that will reveal important information about each candidate.
The interview is one of the most critical parts of the hiring process, so it is important not to shortchange this process. Fortunately, going into an interview well prepared can help.
Here are just a few of the essential hiring interview questions that you simply can’t afford not to ask.
- “Can you tell me a little about how your career has progressed up to this point?”
This question serves a number of purposes including some basic fact-checking to make sure that the candidate accurately relates the details found on his or her resume as well as any information gleaned from reference checking.
It can also give you a better feel for the applicant’s level communication and self-presentation skills, both of which will play a role in how the person interacts with co-workers, supervisors and clients.
Once the candidate has described their career track, you can then follow up with a few other essential questions such as:
>What are your greatest strengths?
>What are your greatest weaknesses?
>What makes you stand out from your peers?
>How would you describe your career potential?
- “Can you describe a time when you had to accept criticism from a colleague? How did you respond to this criticism?”
Interviews often focus on elements of the candidate’s work history such as knowledge, skill level and experience. Overall likeability can play a vital role in whether an employee fits in and succeeds in a new position.
One way to focus in on this quality is to ask the applicant about situations where they were perhaps placed under pressure. How the candidate describes his or her response (as well as how they respond to your query) can tell you a lot about how that individual might fit into the corporate culture at your organization.
Your goal here is to make sure that the applicant will be in tune with the rest of your team. Follow up question that you might also want to ask include:
>What sort of working pace are you comfortable with?
>How well do you cope with challenges?
>How long does it typically take you to complete certain tasks?
>What level of supervision and direction do you need or are comfortable with?
- “What is it that appeals to you the most about this job?” Job seekers often seem frustrated with interviewers ask them why they want the job, but understanding motivations can be critical in determining if the applicant is right for the role.
Candidates should be able to demonstrate a level of competence and knowledge about your company, what you have to offer and why they want to work for your organization.
Some additional questions you might want to follow up with include:
>How much do you know about our company?
>What qualities do you think you will bring to the position?
>How does our business stand out from our competitors?
>How would working for our company contribute to your career goals?
Interviewing can be a time-consuming and difficult process, yet proper preparation can make things easier and more productive.
There are plenty of questions that you should ask during an interview, but there are a few that you simply cannot afford not to ask. By exploring these questions and posing effective follow ups, you will be able to understand better each candidate’s communication abilities, personality and motivations.
All three of these factors are critical to determining whether or not a candidate will be a good hire. Going in prepared can also help ensure that the interview debriefing process is more productive and leads to a greater consensus among interviewers.