Interview

Preparing For an Interview: Questionnaires, Exercises and Objectives

Posted by The Resumator under Interview

A bad interview process can feel like a bad dance. The candidate waves and bobs around alone, waiting for a partner, probably looking ridiculous. Don’t laugh. You caused this uncomfortable scene.

An interview is a tango, it takes two.

You cost the company a great deal of money with bad interviewing and you have only yourself to blame. Prepare yourself, sharpen your skills, and pay attention to the details. We’re going to show you how to prepare for an interview.

Preparing for an Interview

Everything stems from good preparation. It’s the tree trunk from which the branches of good conversation and leafs of clever anecdotes blossom. So do your homework.

STAY FOCUSED

Understand the job needing filled and tailor the interview around that, not the other way around. An objective does nothing more than bring everyone in the hiring process together around the same page. Figure out what you need from discussion, outside examples or previous employees, then all agree on it.

A great hiring technique uses multiple interviewers. It removes some inherent personal bias and quickly familiarizes the candidate with different personalities inside the company. But it doesn’t help anyone if two interviewers ask unrelated questions about different skills applying to disparate positions.

The tighter the focus, the clearer the picture.

Q & A

Asking questions can seem a bit obvious, but they set the foundations for a good interview. Different kinds beg different results though. Use a mixture of what we call Behavioral, Fact-based, Hypothetical and Left Field questions to paint a full picture of the candidate.

Fact-based

Clean and simple, ask who, what, when, and where. Tee the ball up so the candidate feels comfortable talking and opening up.

  • Where did you go to school?
  • What was your last job?
  • How many years have you performed this job?

Behavioral

What was something the candidate did in the past that would likely repeat in the future. You get into the how with these personality-seeking questions.

  • How did you lead a group of people at you last job?
  • What’s an example of efficiently working as part of a team?
  • Tell me about a time when you overcame a workplace obstacle to meet a deadline.

You want explanations and insight into the candidate’s values. Furthermore, if you get the sense that the candidate exaggerates or even worse, fabricates, the gathered information should be based in past, checkable, events. Just remember to keep those references handy.

Hypothetical

These questions can frustrate both sides, but don’t ignore them altogether.

  • How would you react if you found your boss doing something illegal?
  • Would you ever steal?

Sure, the candidate will usually deliver a prepared and measured response. It won’t take that much time though, and you may get lucky with a valuable or condemning answer. We don’t recommend making these the bulk of your questions, but sprinkle them in for some variety.

Left Field

Unexpected, weird, and possibly irrelevant, these questions come from out of nowhere.

  • What topping do you like on your ice cream?
  • How badly did you perform at your last job to need a new one?
  • Your experience and education look outdated. Why would we hire you?
  • What about this position peaked your interest?

Don’t sound mean. Don’t uncomfortably pry. A lot of the meaning will come from your delivery so practice the right times and the right nonchalance to catch the candidate off guard.

Questions like these shouldn’t make or break the candidate. You shouldn’t hope to stump the candidate. But break up the monotony of the typical interview and you may see an authentic response. That candid, stressful moment can speak much louder than any practiced response.

All Systems Go

Develop a system for your interview. Standardize your process and you’ll better evaluate candidates on definable traits. Much of your hiring may come from your gut, but assigning units of measurement to testable assessments will help your collaborators communicate opinions and scores.

Your hiring process will stumble and trip at times, but thorough preparation and clear focus will help you refine it. You won’t worry about discriminatory questions because you already prepared a set of legal questions evaluating bona fide occupational qualifications (BFOQ).

Practice your questions. Run through your list and get a feel for putting particular questions in particular orders. Remember that you want these people to open up to you. Try not to look like you sit atop a throne of judgment. You’re just two people trying to find the right fit.

Just don’t step on each other’s feet.

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