Interview Techniques: 5 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Candidates
The interview aspect of the recruitment process is extremely important; it allows you to understand the candidate a little better, get to know where their strengths and weaknesses lie and ultimately decide whether or not they are right for your business.
It is also a great opportunity to observe how they react under pressure, and how well they think on their feet. However, in order to obtain this information, you need to be sure that you’re asking the right questions.
That is why our expert HR Advisory team have brought together five interview topics/questions that will ensure you gather all the information that you need to know.
Warm up question
This isn’t strictly part of the five question guide, but it’s a great way to start the interview and relax the candidate. By asking the individual in front of you ‘what three things are most important to you when starting your next job?’, you immediately show the candidate that you value what they have to say, and you’re genuinely interested in what they’re looking for in a job. It will also allow you to get a feel for the candidate and decide whether their answer coincides with what you can offer them.
1. ‘How do you measure a good day at the office?’
It is critical that you understand what the candidate values and what they consider to be a productive, positive work day. If these values do not align with either yours or the company’s, it will be a constant battle to achieve the perfect productive work day.
By asking the candidate ‘how do you measure a good day at the office?’, you will be able to see whether they value client satisfaction, ticking off a large number of tasks or having a large amount of free time.
If you know that the role requires 15 hour working days, a candidate who measures a good day in the office by the number of hours they get to relax and get to know their colleagues would be unsuitable for this role.
2. ‘Tell me about a line manager who brought out the best of you.’
Whilst a candidate might be everything you’re looking for on paper, if they have a personality that you know will clash with other members of the team, their experience will quickly become irrelevant.
The interview process is the perfect time to find out whether or not the candidate binds people together or breaks a team apart, and if it’s the latter, they are unlikely to be suitable for your business.
By asking the candidate to describe a line manager who brought out the best in them, you will be able to see if, a) such a line manager exists and b) whether or not their answer coincides with how your managers operate.
3. ‘On some occasions you may be required to work late or come into the office early, is this something that you’d be happy to do?’
This question is intended to provide you with an idea of the candidate’s attitude to their work, whilst also allowing you to ascertain whether or not they have responsibilities outside of the office that they must attend to, for example, children, an unwell spouse or any volunteer work that they carry out in their free time.
These factors should not rule them out as a candidate, so long as they are still able to do the work that they are being contracted to do. When it comes to attitudes towards work, there are various different questions that you can ask, and the question above is just one example to help you get started.
Other options might include ‘what would you do if you felt overworked’ or ‘what would you do if you suddenly found yourself with no work to do?’.
4. ‘What aspects of this job do you think will challenge you?’
Self awareness is an incredibly valuable skill, and it is important that you hire a candidate with strong self-awareness skills. Research carried out in 2013 by the Korn Ferry Institute highlighted a correlation between ‘companies with higher rates of return’ and employees with ‘fewer blind spots’.
They also stated that if employees know what their strengths are, they can apply these at opportune moments, bringing out the best of a particular situation, whilst understanding their weaknesses and acknowledging these can ‘stop them from reacting inappropriately to a situation’. If a candidate understands their weaknesses, they can also proactively seek to improve these and turn them into strengths.
5. ‘Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?’
This question is extremely important if you’re looking at the candidate as an investment. Whilst you might be employing the candidate for a junior role at this moment in time, you should be sure that they are willing to develop and progress. In order for any individual to succeed in your business, you should ensure that the work they are doing is constantly moving them forward.
However, if the candidate answers the question above with ‘in the same place as I am now, but with a husband and three children’, you will know that their priorities are not necessarily climbing up the career ladder. If they answer with ‘I intend to be right where you are now’, you will know that they are ambitious, and they are looking to build a career within your company.
Neither answer is wrong, but it will depend on what you’re looking for as to which answer will be preferable.
Here’s an infographic from your most trusted HR consultancy in London on how to get the most from your candidate interviews: