You probably have a huge stack of resumes and cover letters sitting on your desk. Or maybe they are sitting in your inbox. Either way, you are dreading reading them all. Even after carefully reading them and selecting a candidate, you could end up with an employee who turns out to not be what you thought.
While things like resumes and cover letters are certainly helpful in finding candidates, it’s important to focus on the interview. You can’t replace things like first impressions, responses to questions, and dealing with the stress of an interview with the information in resumes and cover letters. However, if you aren’t asking the right questions in the interview, you could still end up hiring someone you think is a great fit, but turns out to not be what you were looking for. Here are a few questions you should be asking in an interview:
1. Can you tell me about a challenging work situation you experienced and what the situation resulted in?
By asking this question to candidates, you are going to learn how they handle stress and how they perceive results. You should be looking for honest answers, but also answers that have positive results. Candidates should be trying to show you that they work through issues and strive for positive results.
2. Why do you want to work here?
“It seems like a fun work environment.” “I really like the way the company is structured.” “Your brand is really great.” These are typical responses that don’t really carry any meaning. If a candidate gives you an answer like these, you’ll be able to tell they haven’t done much research. Look for specific answers about your company and show that thought and time was put into preparing for the interview.
3. What would you do differently, if you were to start your career over?
The ideal candidate would say nothing and are happy that their career path has lead them to you. But, we don’t live in an ideal world, so you should be looking for answers that focus on, growth, learning, and positive actions. You want a candidate who can recognize mistakes and is willing to make the necessary corrections to get back on track.
4. Where would you like to be in 5 years, career wise?
Sure, it may be a stereotypical question, but it’s an important one to ask. Interviewers sometimes avoid it because of overuse, but it serves a great purpose. You are looking for employees that are going to be dedicated to your organization and want to work for you. By asking this particular question, you can find out the goals of the candidate and if they match those of your company.
5. What type of work environment do you function best in?
As the one interviewing, you should have a handle on the work environment this candidate will be in. Is it fast? Hectic? Slow? Quiet? Once you are able to answer this question for yourself, you can ask candidates what type of work environment they work best in to ensure the two match. Employees who don’t fit with their work environments tend to be unhappy, stressed, and seek out other opportunities.
When it’s all said and done, you need to be asking interview questions that get to the heart of the situation: does this employee fit. Your questions should be tailored to your organization, the requirements of the position, and your overall goals.
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