The Right Questions – Top Tips for Interviewers
July 19, 2019 Hiring
One of the most important tasks in any company is interviewing applicants for vacancies. Even if you have experience, it is worth keeping up-to-date with current thinking about how to do the job effectively.
- Think first about what you want to achieve. You have a list of shortlisted applicants, all qualified for the job. The interview is done to choose the most suitable of them. So make a list of questions which will fit the ability of your ideal candidate, depending on the job´s requirements.
- All the candidates will be nervous, visibly or not. Think how you would feel in their position and give them a nice easy question to start. Avoid closed questions (ones with “yes” or “no” answers). Open questions give an opportunity to relax, talk and reveal their “soft skills” like communication and relating to others, as well as some personality traits. This is true all the way through the interview. “Tell us briefly why you have applied for this job” or “how did you get interested in this type of work?” would be good examples. It also helps to mention brevity, casually, near the beginning, especially if you’re pushed for time.
- Ask your essential questions, but be flexible. Sometimes you learn more about a person by giving them space to elaborate on an answer. As you go, summarise their answers and ask for clarification where needed. “Can you just explain a bit more about ….?” can lead to valuable insights.
- You want to know the candidate is genuinely interested in working for your company. Check that they have bothered to research this by asking how they would carry out a task they needed for this post, in this company. “Suppose you had to deal with…” is a good beginning. You´ll find out more about their skills.
- Get them to think about the future by asking what they think the company will be doing in one or two years´ time. Then follow that up by asking: “What role would you like to have played in this?” This tests their potential loyalty and long-term interest in working for you.
- There are frequently used, reliable questions such as “Tell me about your greatest achievement in your last job” and “Talk to us about a problem which you helped solve”. Candidates expect these, but they are useful because they show you important skills like innovation or problem-solving. To make them challenging, adapt them to the post in your company, or make them hypothetical.
- Keep some time at the end so they can ask you their questions. This can be very revealing!