How can you uncover a candidate’s true potential beyond the rehearsed responses and polished resumes, especially when there are multiple exceptional candidates?
Most of the time, all you need to do is ask the right interview questions. In this article, we will explore various interview questions and strategies to help you confidently select the ideal candidate for your team.
Why Does Asking the Right Interview Questions Matter?
The importance of asking the right questions during the hiring process goes beyond merely exchanging information; it is an opportunity to dig deeper, unravel a candidate’s capabilities, and gain a holistic understanding of how they fit within your organization.
1. It reveals authenticity.
Well-crafted questions can gauge a candidate’s self-awareness and how well they understand their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for development.
Interviewers gain a deeper understanding of their self-awareness and authenticity by requiring candidates to reflect on their past experiences and provide self-assessments.
These questions allow you to see beyond practiced answers and scripted anecdotes, enabling you to grasp a candidate’s genuine thoughts, motivations, and experiences.
2. Enhances objectivity.
Hiring biases is still prevalent. According to Gitnux, 89 percent of hiring managers form opinions about applicants within 15 minutes of the initial job interview.¹ This highlights the unfortunate truth that quick judgments are made during hiring processes, leaving room for biases and unfair decisions.
On the contrary, companies with diverse workforce enjoy a cash flow per employee that’s 2.5 times higher compared to companies that do not have diversity.²
Building a diverse workforce starts with the hiring process. Additionally, from the same report, 2,300 businesses in the US changed their hiring processes to reduce bias and witnessed a 19 percent increase in diversity. By designing a set of well-defined questions, you ensure that:
- All candidates are evaluated on the same criteria
- Unconscious biases and personal preferences are minimized
- Fairness and consistency are intentional in your hiring decisions
3. Uncovers hidden potential.
A candidate’s true potential may not always be evident from their resume or initial interactions. By asking probing questions and actively listening to their responses, you can uncover hidden talents, motivations, and aspirations that might set a candidate apart.
This allows you to identify candidates with the potential for growth and development within your organization.
What’s Meant by the Right Interview Questions?
These carefully crafted questions draw relevant and insightful information from candidates during the selection process. They aim to assess the candidate’s qualifications, skills, experience, and overall fit for a particular role within an organization.
It goes beyond surface-level responses, allowing you to understand candidates deeper.
Top Interview Questions to Ask Candidates In 2023
The key is for candidates to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and thought processes by providing logical and well-thought-out responses.
1. Behavioral Questions
Behavioral questions focus on past experiences and actions to gain insight into a candidate’s behavior in specific situations. These questions aim to uncover how candidates have responded in various situations, allowing you to evaluate their skills, competencies, and suitability for the job.
The underlying assumption is that past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior. Here are some examples you can tailor your questions to.
- Have you handled a difficult situation with a coworker?
- Describe an urgent project you had to work on. How did you manage your time and resources?
- What major challenge have you faced at work? How was it? What was the outcome?
- Give instances where you demonstrated leadership skills. How did you motivate and guide your team?
2. Situational Questions
Situational questions, also known as hypothetical or scenario-based questions, are interview questions that present candidates with hypothetical scenarios and ask them to describe how they would handle or respond to those situations.
These questions aim to assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, and thought processes when faced with challenging or complex situations. Unlike behavioral questions that focus on past experiences, situational questions evaluate a candidate’s ability to think critically and apply their knowledge and skills to hypothetical scenarios. Here are some situations you can use.
You discover a mistake in a project you have been working on, and the deadline is approaching. What steps would you take to rectify the error and ensure the project is completed on time?
Imagine you are responsible for implementing a new company policy that might be met with resistance from employees. How would you introduce and gain acceptance for this policy among the staff?
You receive negative feedback from a client regarding a service or product your company provides. How would you handle the situation to address the client’s concerns and maintain a positive relationship?
You have discovered a significant flaw in an existing process that could lead to inefficiencies and errors. How would you go about identifying the root cause and implementing improvements?
How would you adapt your presentation style and content to ensure effective communication when delivering to a diverse audience with varying levels of expertise?
3. Competency-Based Questions
This assesses a candidate’s proficiency in specific technical skills required for the role. They help to evaluate how a candidate can apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations. These questions are useful for technical positions such as software engineering, data analysis, engineering, or any role that requires specialized technical knowledge.
For example, if you were interviewing a candidate for a Software Engineer role, here are some of the things you can ask:
- What’s the difference between object-oriented programming and procedural programming?
- How would you optimize a database query for faster performance?
- What is the purpose of a RESTful API, and how does it work?
- Can you explain the concept of multithreading and how it can be used to improve application performance?
Additional Tips to Improve Hiring Decisions
Now that you know the right questions, here are a few things you should keep in mind before you ask your candidates.
1. Job Description
Familiarize yourself with the job description and understand the key responsibilities, skills, and qualifications necessary for success in the role. This will provide a solid foundation for designing relevant interview questions.
Establish a structured interview process that outlines the steps, criteria, and timelines for evaluating candidates. This ensures consistency and fairness throughout the recruiting process.
Document key points, strengths, weaknesses, and noteworthy answers during the interview. This helps recall specific details during the evaluation and facilitates discussions with other interviewers.
4. Non-Verbal Language
Pay attention to candidates’ non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice. These cues can provide additional information about their confidence, engagement, and overall demeanor.
5. Asking for Feedback
Allow candidates to ask questions. This helps you see through their interest in the role and organization.
6. Character References
Reach out to the references provided by the candidates to gain insights into their work ethic, performance, and character. This additional feedback can help validate your assessment and provide a more comprehensive view of the candidate.
Once the interviews are concluded, provide timely feedback to the candidates, whether they are selected or not. This demonstrates professionalism and respects their time and effort in the application process.
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Finding the best candidates takes time and effort, making the hiring process lengthy and costly. This is where Strategic Systems can lend a hand.
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1. GitNux. “The Most Surprising Hiring Bias Statistics And Trends in 2023.” GitNux, 13 Apr. 2023, https://blog.gitnux.com/hiring-bias-statistics/.
2. Reiners, Bailey. “50 Diversity in the Workplace Statistics to Know” Builtin, 28 Mar. 2023, https://builtin.com/diversity-inclusion/diversity-in-the-workplace-statistics