Interviewing: Ask Right to Hire Right

Why do companies interview? Why can’t they hire anyone that comes in the door?
Bottom-line, it’s the first opportunity a prospective employer has to see if the applicant is the person he claims to be on paper.

Much time & money goes into interviewing. You want to find the right person for that job. So what are you looking for? From each candidate, you want to find out:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you do the job?
  • Will you fit in?

Before you ever start interviewing, you must prepare. How do you do that? You need to have written questions for each candidate & your need to take notes during each interview. And you need to know what answers you’re looking for.

First, prepare:

  • Don’t write on the resume or application
  • Write down individual questions that are developed from each individual person’s application or resume
  • Write the questions down in the order you want to interview to go.
  • Jot down the answers that you’re looking for

There are 3 categories of questions that you should ask each candidate:

  • Individual questions that are developed from each person’s application or resume
  • Standard questions for all candidate
  • Experience questions

Resume/application Review Questions

  • Read each resume so that you know as much as possible about each candidate before the interview. Prepare by listing each job he’s done on paper with blanks so you can find out:
  • Where did the applicant work and for how long. What did he like best? Why did he leave?
  • Look for gaps in unemployment. Ask “what did you do for the year you weren’t employed”?
  • Do the same thing for education – say “you attended…”•

Standard Questions:

    You want to find out what the applicant wants to work for you company, so ask:

  • Why are you interested in working for this company?
  • Give me an example of a time you felt really excited about your work?
  • How do you feel this job would help you reach your goals?

Experience Questions:
This is where you want to find out if the applicant has the skills and experiences required for THIS job. You want to ask each candidate questions that closely mirror situations that he would encounter while working for you. You want to ask Behavioral Interview Questions where past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

You can find “best-fit” candidates by identifying behavior patterns during the interview process.

This gives you, the employer, a much better chance of getting to know who the candidate is, not just what the candidate can do.

Instead of asking a yes/no question such as: “You’ve used Word & Excel – haven’t you? “, ask this question: “Tell me about a time when you added formulas to an Excel spreadsheet”. You’re looking for what was the situation, the candidate’s actions, and the result.

Situation, the actions, & the result:
When the interview is completed, you will analyze the responses to see how they mesh with your organization. With this knowledge, the you are more likely to select the right person for the job and for your company’s culture.