When you have finally selected that person to come in and interview for you, it’s important to make sure that you set in place a strong and consistent set of procedures that allow you to really get to know the person in question and avoid any possibility of getting fooled by your interviewee. Following these rules can help you best determine who is really the best fit for your company. Asking the right questions can help guide your interview in the direction you want it to go. You want to find the balance between setting the tone of leadership and being inviting to honesty and open communication.
1. Avoid asking questions they can easily turn around
Here are the types of questions you want to avoid:
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What is something your former manager would like you to improve on?
- Tell me about a time you handled a difficult situation.
“Strengths” and “weaknesses” questions, for example, are a simple opportunity to get candidates to highlight all the wonderful things about them and avoid mentioning what they could work on more. Some candidates will be very honest and tell you something they legitimately could work on best, but even if you do get a substantial answer, it doesn’t tell you much about them. Most of the time, candidates take the opportunity to make themselves sound good in every light.
2. Make sure to ask questions that require more factual responses
Here are the types of questions you may want to ask:
- What makes you a successful sales person and what can you show me to prove that?
- If you had to live your life all over again, what one thing would you change?
- Tell me something about yourself that I don’t already know that tells me why I should hire you
Situational questions require the candidate to think about times they were forced into circumstances and have to describe how best they handle themselves. They can be questions that relate to situations they have already been in or situations they could be in. Not all hypothetical questions are effective, but some hypothetical questions can help test their quick thinking abilities as well as their character in some instances depending on what the situation entails. Questions about specific metrics are definitely encouraged as they provide an easy point of comparison amongst candidates. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for that transcript if a college degree is required. People can be vague about “dates.”
3. Prepare yourself with knowledge of the candidates
This is probably one of the most important things a recruiter can do because the more you know about the individual that comes into your doors, the better you can control the flow of the conversation. Avoid questions that only prove to be fillers and seem to be used when recruiters don’t know enough about a certain topic. Spending time to actually go over their unique history and even memorizing some of those facts will help the candidate know you have done your homework and keep them on their A-game. It will also help prevent them rambling on about their whole life and everything they have ever done, keeping you in control of the flow.
4. Don’t let commonalities be the determining factor
Many candidates have done their homework and look up recruiters on LinkedIn, for example, and find out things about them to better their chances. If a candidate finds out their recruiter used to work at a company that they admire and bring that up in the interview, chances are that the recruiter will make a mental note of that. Without realizing it, many times, they will favor the ones that they hit it off with the most. Why is that wrong? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to work with people you get along with - after all, culture fit should be taken to account. However, recruiters need to be sure they are unbiased and not basing the interview results purely on their common ground with the candidate. Consider the fact that recruiters may not be giving a fair chance to those who they don’t have many things in common with, but have the ability to perform outstandingly well.
5. Focus on defense
Most candidates come into an interview very defensive. Their primary concern is being able to answer the questions the best they can. It is difficult to be the leader and also set the tone for a lax environment. You want your candidates to be able to talk open and honestly, so the best way to do that is to be prepared best you can and have those prepared questions, but also remember that you are not interrogating the candidate to find the best fit. You want them to do just as much if not more talking, so just make sure the questions you ask really count in the process.
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