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Episode 57: Getting Interview Questions Right

podcast Jan 31, 2023

What questions can I ask in an interview to find out what I really need to know about the job candidate?

If you’re looking for that next addition to your team and you want to find that right fit, it can be challenging. You’ve probably had an experience before where you’ve thought you’ve found the right person and it didn’t work out. 

So, how do you discern if this candidate is the right one for the job?

Start with 3 - 5 critical qualities that you’re looking to assess in the interview. Then design the process to help you assess each candidate against those qualities. 

Number 1: Watch out for your own bias

Rather than ignoring them, name them so they don’t drive the interview in the background. Be willing to challenge yourself so you don’t default to stereotypes. Design the interview to allow the candidate to challenge your assumptions. 

Number 2: Don’t interview alone

Sometimes other people can see things we can’t see. Maybe they have a different experience and interaction with the role you’re hiring for. Just be clear right at the front end what you are expecting from them, if they have a vote or just feedback. Then clarify the feedback you're looking for is not whether they like the candidate or not, instead feedback for each candidate on the 3 - 5 qualities you are assessing. 

Number 3: Ask better questions

Ask Specific Questions: Move beyond strengths and weaknesses to asking about the specific skills you need. Example: “Tell me about a time when you had to take initiative and lead a project or team. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?” 

Ask Behavioral Based Questions: When you are designing questions, think about the kinds of situations they will face in the role and the skills you are trying to assess. Then ask specific, behavior-based questions like: “Tell me about a time someone criticized your work. How did you respond and what did you learn?”

Number 4: Do more than just interview

#1 – make sure to check references and stay open minded about what you hear. 

#2 – don’t be afraid to ask for examples of work or give them an assignment.

#3 - use a hiring assessment.

There is no guarantee that if you do a better interview process you will be guaranteed to find the perfect fit. But, if you do a more intentional process focused on assessing the right stuff you’ll increase your chances and reduce your risk. 

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