Conducting an effective job interview takes more than asking about a person’s experience and what they know about your organization — it’s a great opportunity to determine how they approach their work and challenges they face, and whether that approach would fit in your organization. To rush through it puts your culture at risk — not to mention your bottom line.
“Turnover is expensive,” says Christina Boudreaux, owner and senior talent consultant at Talent Made Simple. “Having a robust interviewing and selection process that is developed to align with company culture and role competencies will lead to successful hiring and financial impacts to the organization.”
Here are some tips.
Many interviewers start by asking about a candidate’s skills, but you already have that information from the résumé. Instead, use behavior-based interview questions that ask for specific examples and avoid hypothetical situations, “Past behavior predicts future performance, and, therefore, soliciting specific examples will give a better prediction,” Boudreaux says.
Behavioral-based questions ask candidates about specific situations and examples of work experience, Boudreaux says. “They typically start with a phrase such as ‘Tell me about a time when’ or ‘Describe a project when,’ ” Boudreaux says. Hypothetical questions such as “what would you do in this customer interaction” aren’t as helpful, as a candidate can provide an answer they think you want to hear.
While it’s important to hire people you like, it can be tempting to rely too much on gut instincts instead of truly assessing the candidate’s capabilities to be successful in the role, Boudreaux says. Preparing for the interview and reviewing a methodology to get the answers you’re looking for can help.
Boudreaux recommends the “STAR” approach: Ensure your questions help you understand the Situation or Task the candidate was facing, the Action they took to address it and the Result they got when it was over.
“This allows you to get the complete picture to fully assess a candidate, versus making a conclusion after hearing just one portion of the overall scenario,” she says. Even negative outcomes are helpful to hear about, as it’s important to understand how candidates handle tough situations, so be ready with follow-up questions that elicit the information you’re looking for.
Certain interview questions can put your company at risk for a lawsuit if the candidate can prove discrimination. Review the kinds of questions that are problematic, and ensure that everyone interviewing candidates understands what they should and shouldn’t ask about. Topics that aren’t relevant include a candidate’s age, marital status, personal information about family or current pregnancy status, race and disabilities.
“When in doubt, stick to job-related questions only,” Boudreaux says. If a candidate offers information that you didn’t ask for, discuss it with HR after the interview so they’re aware and can follow up accordingly, Boudreaux says.
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