So you’re in charge of running a search process and it’s time to develop those awesome interview questions that you may have just finished answering when you were a candidate. It’s much better to be on this side of the table right? There a few tips and tricks that you will want to utilize to assist you in choosing the “right” interview questions. I utilize quotations for the word right as there is no magic formula to choosing the “right” questions, however, there are some steps that will assist you in crafting intentional questions that will assist you in finding great fits for your positions.
One of the first steps into creating questions that will deliver great results is understanding, “What are we trying to find out about the candidate from these questions?” The best information you can ascertain from interview questions are cultural fit questions. Is your work environment fast paced? Are you in a relational department? How important is flexibility to your current team? Questions such as these will answer what your desired behaviors of potential employees are.
“You can teach skills but you can’t teach attitude.” You may have heard this phrase before and the more time I have spent in recruitment, the more I buy into this. Emotional Intelligence (EI) can be a key indicator of potential success in a candidate. EI is the ability to use emotional information to assist their thinking and behavior. If your hiring team decides that a calm demeanor is one of the most important desired behaviors, you need to create questions that will show you how a candidate displays their calmness. Often, question sets will only look for responses that gather information about skill levels. It’s nice to have candidates that have very high level of knowledge in experience within crisis situations but how do they handle that emotional aspect of it? How do they remain calm? How do they assist their staff with remaining calm during a stressful situation? How do they assist colleagues who don’t handle stress well?
You want to create questions for your interviews that will highlight skills because no one wants to hire someone without a clue, however, you need to ask yourself “Are these questions we’re asking that will receive ample training and development?” If so, leave those things for training and ask things that you can’t teach such as attitude, collaborative nature, empathy, etc…
I recently had the opportunity to attend the Disney Institute on Employee Engagement where they talked to us about how they develop their interview questions. Often, the world of Human Resources will talk about situationally based questions, “Give us an example of a time where you…” These are great types of questions to ensure you receive examples during your interview. However, candidates can prepare and rehearse their answers to questions like that, over and over, to where it’s automatic. Disney utilizes scenario based questions to receive responses to their desired behaviors as a company. Once you determine a desired behavior you want your candidates to exhibit, create a scenario that often plays out in your work setting and see if their behavior fits what you are looking for in a candidate. This also will allow the candidate to see a little into your work place. This will assist you in determining a cultural fit through this process.
At the end of the day, there are no right or wrong questions (unless you ask any illegal ones and therefore, this blog will not be able to help you). There are, however, better types of questions including questions that address emotional intelligence, desired behaviors and give you a glimpse into how a candidate would react within scenarios. Being intentional and spending valuable time thinking about what you want out of your interview questions should assist you in yielding candidates that truly will be able to assimilate into your departmental culture and set everyone up for success.
This post is part of our #SArecruits series, which will share experiences from a variety of #SApros who have hired new employees. We hope that these stories will give great insight for both professionals looking to improve their hiring tactics, and also those on the job search looking for an inside perspective. For more information, please see Bill Mattera’s intro post. Be sure to check out other posts in this series!
> BONUS <
Podcast With Quint Geis on #SAGrad, Life, and Job Searching