The best candidates want to be challenged in an interview; they’re assessing the employer as much as the employer is assessing them.
Commitment from employees is essential to business success; passion and enthusiasm are key to driving an organisation forward.
During interviews, an employer can learn a great deal about the candidate’s personality from the type of questions that are asked. It’s crucial to assess whether or not the candidate will fit into the organisation, therefore asking them tailored questions that will trigger a passionate response is advisable.
Asking questions that are tailored to triggering enthusiastic responses are an indicative measure as to whether the individual is matched to the job role; it will highlight their strengths and aspirations. For example:
. If we were to hire you, what do you see yourself doing here in three years?
. How have you helped others outside of work?
. Can you give an example of something that you are focused on at the moment?
The answers to these questions are informative, and will communicate to the interviewer something about the candidate that they may have never discovered otherwise. These questions should be asked at the beginning of the interview, as they are a great way to gauge how passionate the interviewee is about the role or if they’re simply just looking for any job.
Challenging questions are meant to reveal a candidate’s ability to identify and solve problems; however, critical thinking questions should only be asked if the intention is to uncover certain personality traits that will translate in to success in the role.
Critical-thinking questions highlight candidate skills that allow people to evaluate situations through reasoning, to reach logical decisions. Businesses benefit from employees who think critically due to the individual’s use of an independent mindset and advanced processes.
However, it’s logical to keep challenging interview questions as job-related as possible. Sometimes it’s not important to assess whether the answer is necessarily right or wrong; simply, challenging questions are an employer’s opportunity to evaluate how candidates react outside their comfort zone.
Good examples of challenging interview questions:
. Describe a time when you had to convince your manager to try a different approach to solve a problem.
. Tell me about a time you had to make a decision with incomplete information. What did you do?
. What’s the best sales approach: increase prices to achieve higher revenues or decrease prices to improve customer satisfaction?
Think: Did the candidate make assumptions? Did they answer at all? Did they give you an obvious answer or did they not ask any questions at all? All are questions to ask when assessing critical-thinking skills in interviews and when wanting to get the best out of candidates.
Preparation and organisation prior to commencing an interview with a candidate is fundamental in order to gain sufficient information from candidates.
. Review the candidate’s CV before the date of the interview – by preparing interview questions based off of the candidate’s CV, an employer is showing that they have taken the time to ensure a productive interview.
. Ensure great understanding of the job duties – firstly, give a brief description of the company, however do not talk too much and move straight on to the outline of the job.
. Write a list of questions that directly relate to the job’s responsibilities – list the key responsibilities and questions that relate to them. Make sure there are no details missed!
. Access their online profiles – learn a bit about them for intel from any of the candidate’s social media profiles. By doing this, it’s possible to note hobbies, writings, professional recommendations etc.
If an employer has done their homework and prepared themselves as much as possible prior to the interview, then this allows more time to pay attention towards the interaction and details of what the candidate is saying.
Make a great first impression – extend professional courtesies and be on time!
As the candidate arrives for the interview, offer them a glass of water and make some polite, small chit-chat (it may be worthwhile giving them a tour around the office if appropriate).
Trust nonverbal signals and body language. An employer may be looking for eye contact just as much as a candidate is trying to read unspoken signals in return. Be sure to use the correct tone of voice, pay attention to manners and dress appropriately.
The more comfortable the interviewer feels, the better the interview will ultimately go. By matching the candidate in mood and energy level, the meeting reaches a unanimous tone.
An evenly matched conversation will put the candidate at ease and therefore will encourage the best from the candidate; mirroring a candidate’s body language can subliminally signal that the interviewer is present in the conversation.
Allowing pauses and time in-between the answers from the candidate can seem agonising (especially if an interviewer doesn’t like silences) however, it’s a polite method that works wonders in developing a rapport between two people.
Many organisations now challenge candidates to prepare either an assignment, task or test, to either present or complete when being interviewed; this method can be part of the recruitment process and used to access their potential.
Some interviewers will give candidates free reign to talk about anything they desire in a presentation: from current affairs to photography, for example. Others will create strict presentation briefs based on their current industry topics, which obviously require a lot more effort and reveal different qualities.
Regardless, presentations more often than not reveal copious amounts of information about the candidate, including: transferable skills, industry knowledge, organisation/planning, research skills, passion, confidence, personal interaction and many more.
Click here for more examples of interview questions.
Not sure how to retain your employees? VHR discusses employee retention here.