Ask Purposeful Questions

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Ask Purposeful Questions

Struggling with asking the right questions in an interview? Here are four ways to provoke better answers from candidates.

After years of interviewing candidates, hiring managers may sometimes find themselves in the habit of asking the same questions in every interview. Having a few standard questions can be a good thing but many hiring managers waste time asking questions that provide little or no value to the interview. Instead of thinking about which questions to ask, it is often more valuable to think of the information needed to gauge the candidate’s skills and work backward.

Probing candidates with the same cliché interview questions like “Tell me about yourself” or “Why should we hire you?” doesn’t usually lead to any huge revelations. Open-ended questions also have the potential to make interviews go long. Instead, ask direct questions and lead the interview in the direction you would like to take it. Rebeca Eaton explains in this video why this is important:

4 Ways to Ask Better Questions

Avoid questions that lead to a “Yes” or “No” answer.

It can be very difficult to gain insight into a candidate’s skill level if every answer given leads to a one-word answer. Instead, ask the candidate questions with examples. It is always easier to talk about past experiences than to ask about vague concepts and opinions. Leaving the questions open-ended gives more opportunity to have a conversation and really get to know the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

Reword Typical Cliché Questions

Instead of asking the candidate what their greatest weakness is, think outside the box and get creative. A candidate often expects the hiring manager to ask particular questions, to which they rehearsed answers prepared. Instead, ask situational questions that require the candidate to go into detail about how their weakness or strength was displayed in a particular situation. An example would be to give the candidate three positive characteristics and then ask them to pick the two that best describe themselves.

Ask Probing Questions that Develop Thought Provoking Answers

In order to stay away from the typical questions, every hiring manager asks, dig a little deeper. Ask circumstantial questions or questions that get the candidate talking about their personality. After taking responses to more thought-provoking questions into consideration, not only will the hiring manager get a better feel for how well the candidate will fit into the company’s culture, they will also be provided with a clearer indication of the candidate’s true interest in the position/company.

Make Sure the Answer Gives Value

If the answers to a particular question consistently do little to help distinguish between candidates it is likely that the question isn’t worth asking. While there is a time for building rapport and learning about the candidate’s personality, it is important to use the interview time wisely and get valuable information from the person interviewing. Ask yourself “What will the answer to this question tell me about the candidate?”.

Follow the guidelines above and the next interview will be a success. Never underestimate the power of working with a search firm either. Recruitment firms like Search Solution Group employ headhunters with years of experience perfecting the interview in order to best vet a candidate prior to sending him/her to your company. If more guidance is needed, consider forming a partnership with Search Solution Group.

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