Asking the right questions in an interview is no easy feat. Don’t ask just any old question. First, ask yourself a few questions. What are you looking for in a new employee? What are you looking to uncover with your questions? Maybe your answer is somewhere along the lines of ability, skill, and culture fit. That’s generally what employers are looking for in new employees.
When the interview is finished you should be able to answer yourself 3 important questions:
- Can they perform essential functions of the job?
- Will they be happy working here?
- Will they fit in with our culture?
Here are some tips on how to formulate questions that will answer just that, without asking something silly like, “How fast can you type?”.
Pick the Right Interview Questions
Does the question help you understand if they can do the job?
A good candidate will possess at least 60 to 80% of the skills, traits and abilities that you stated in the job description. If your question does not help you understand if they have the ability to do the job then you should consider not asking that question. Stay topic focused. When it comes to ability, ask specific open-ended questions. Present a situation they might encounter with your company and ask how they would handle it.
Does the question help you answer who they are?
This is a bit difficult to gauge especially as candidates are often nervous during interviews. There are also no right or wrong answers here. To get an idea for the “authentic person” the candidate is, ask questions about leisure and especially volunteer activities. Just be mindful not to get too personal. Try something like, “Have you recently participated in any volunteer activities? What did you take away from that experience?”.
Does the question help you discover cultural fit?
Keep an open mind here. You need variety in personalities to form a great team. Culture fit isn’t top priority over skills and ability but skills can be taught and goals can change. Hiring people who have trouble collaborating with your existing team can end up costing more in the long run. You could ask the candidate what kind of management style they prefer. Or even better ask, “What management characteristics make you feel the most motivated and productive at work?”
These are just a few examples that might not apply to all companies. What’s important is that you align your goals (what you really want to know about the candidate) with the specific questions you are asking them. Make sure those questions are uncovering the answers to your goals.
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