Top Five Most Effective Interview Questions

July 6th, 2012

You have an available position and a long list of candidates you’ve decided to call in for initial interviews. Each meeting will go on for about thirty minutes, and during that time, you’ll need to gather sufficient detail about each applicant to fairly and accurately assess their readiness for the job. You’ll need to make sure your questions are open-ended so the candidates can elaborate on their answers, and you’ll need to make sure each question is as useful as possible. What should you ask? What exactly do you need to know? Here are five questions that can keep the conversation interesting, revealing and relevant.

1.    “Tell me about your most recent position.”
This one is indispensible. The best way to find out what a candidate can do is to ask what she’s doing already. Glean how she feels about this work, how she got into it, and what she thinks of the business model in general.

2.    “Why did you choose to apply for a job with us?”
Ask this one only after you’ve outlined the role and given a basic explanation of what your company/department does every day. If you ask before explaining, she’ll just look for a way around the obvious answer: She needs work. You posted the ad. Voila.

3.    “Where would you like to be in five years?”
This is a vital question that will reveal how ambitious she is, but more important, it will help you find out if your company will be able to give her what she wants. If not, this may be a bad match.

4.    “In this position, you’ll probably need to… How comfortable are you with that?”
Fill in the blank with the most challenging, icky, controversial, demeaning, or boring daily aspect of this position. The candidate should know about it upfront, and you’ll need to gauge his reaction. Does he enthusiastically embrace this aspect? Does he haltingly claim he’ll be okay with it? Is he surprised to hear about it?

5.    “I’ve noticed that in your “additional information” section, you say that you’re (well-traveled/ a violinist/ a black belt in karate/ fluent in four languages). That’s neat! Tell me more.”
This is the best way to wrap up the interview and let the candidate talk about his life and his personality. Listen for any cues that indicate how well he’ll adapt to your company culture.

Make sure that you screen candidates effectively for a precise fit. [Personnel Services Unlimited] can help save you time by hiring the right applicant.

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