Refresh what you ask Candidates during the Interview and Hiring Process

The job interview is your opportunity to size up a candidate and get a sense of whether (or not) he or she will add value to your team. The interview is your opportunity to consider if a candidate would gel with the rest of your team, likely be a long-term employee rather than consider your position as a stepping stone to something better, and has strong communication and interpersonal skills. Make sure to make the most of this limited window of time by asking the right questions.

Free Whitepaper Download: Using an Interview to Select Frontline Job Candidates

Stop asking – Tell me about your background

‘Tell me about your background.” If you’ve invited a candidate in for an interview, you’ve already vetted his or her resume and know his employment history.

Ask instead – What do you enjoy doing outside of work

‘What do you enjoy doing outside of work?” This ice-breaker question will put the candidate at ease and set a friendly tone for the interview. You can also draw accurate conclusions about people based on their hobbies and interests.

Stop asking – What are your weaknesses

‘What are your weaknesses?” Every job-seeker expects this question and has crafted an answer to avoid admitting actual weaknesses. “I become so caught up in my job that I sometimes forget to take time for myself.” Or, “I’m always supporting my coworkers and sometimes don’t take credit for ideas that were mine.”

Ask instead – When I contact your previous employer, what will he or she tell me you could improve upon

‘When I contact your previous employer, what will he or she tell me you could improve upon?” This question leaves a candidate with nowhere to hide! When they know you’ll be getting the real story anyway, they’ll be more likely to fess up. “Sometimes I have trouble meeting deadlines.” Or, “I become flustered when I’m juggling too many projects at once.”

Stop asking – Where do you see yourself in 5 years

‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” This is a wasted question. First of all, no one knows where they’ll be in 5 years. And, a smart candidate will frame his or her answer to tell you want you want to hear. “I see myself here, working my way up the ladder and continuing to work hard to grow this company.”

Ask instead – Tell me about the specific skills and abilities

‘Tell me about the specific skills and abilities you have that make you an ideal fit for the job you’re interviewing for.” This question will give you insight beyond the resume. It encourages the candidate to discuss relevant hard and soft skills. And, it allows you to evaluate whether the candidate has an accurate understanding of what the job entails. You’ll receive concrete answers, rather than musings about what may or may not happen in the future.

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