One of the most important decisions that companies make is in choosing their personnel. Not only will this person be a part of the company’s image, but they’ll also contribute to its success-or decline. There’s also the investment of both time and money that go into a job search, and every company is concerned with the highest possible return on that investment-in other words, hiring the best possible person.
Making well-informed hiring decisions is crucial when conducting a job search and the best way to get the full picture of a candidate’s range of abilities is by asking interview questions that encompass multiple areas. There are four basic categories to cover when designing questions for an interview:
Job-related experience and skills
These questions will supply more depth than the basics listed on a résumé, and can also help clear up any confusing elements:
• What were your basic responsibilities at your current or previous job?
• What attracted you to this job, and how does it work with your long term goals?
Aptitude for business and problem-solving skills
Of course they have experience in the business, or you wouldn’t be interviewing them. But how well do they understand this business, and whether they have the creative thinking skills to advance your business? Questions that start with “Tell me about a time when….” or give the interviewee a scenario are ideal:
• Tell me about a time when a project you were in charge of fell behind schedule. What measures did you take, and what was the outcome?
• You have been charged with creating a new system and workflow for an existing process. What methods would you use to accomplish this task?
Questions on interpersonal skills will help you discern how the candidate works under pressure, communicates, and how well they work with others.
• What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses?
• How do you relieve stress at work?
Ensure a good fit
Another area to ask candidates about relates to your own office culture. Since every hire needs to be a good fit with your organization, ask them about their ideal work environment:
• What sort of environment do you thrive in?
• What is your ideal management structure?
At the end of the interview, allow the candidate time to ask some questions. Take note of the questions they ask, and if the questions reflect the candidate’s level of understanding and/or interest in the position.
Remember: the goal of an interview is to gain insight in the candidate’s abilities and personality. By applying pedagogy to your questions, the chances of making a thoroughly advantageous hiring decision are drastically increased.