Questions That Matter: How To Ask The Right Questions When Conducting Interviews

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We'll introduce three proven tips on how to improve the interview process and help you along in the process of finding that right candidate.

Interviews can be tricky. Not only for the job candidate, though, but for the interviewer as well. If you are the manager behind a recent startup, this difficult process can only be heightened. Not only are you looking for a candidate that is proficient in the skill set you desire, but you are also looking for someone who fits the feel of your company.

To help you along in this process, it is important to not only learn the right questions to ask but also how to ask the right questions.

Ask, Don’t Educate

There are a time and a place to educate prospective employees on your business, but the first round of interviews is not one. Chances are, if the person you are interviewing has done their homework (and hopefully they have), then there is no need to give them the run-down of the first interview. In fact, it has been reported that this is actually harmful to an authentic interview process, as this may allow a person with a decent sales mentality to pitch themselves to the rest of the people in your startup. Sure, the experience is always a plus, but what you are really searching for in the beginning stages of the interview process is unteachable; you are looking for the personality. For the most part, you can teach somebody the ways of your business, but teaching somebody to be a team player is a much harder feat.

Learn About Personality

Personality is huge. Especially for a startup, it is imperative you find somebody that fits the feel of your business. Remember, you can always train somebody in systems like Excel, Google AdWords, or how to write a nicely-crafted email (for the most part), but it is a lot harder to teach the intangibles. Somebody’s enthusiasm, passion, drive, and willingness to learn is something that, for the most part, cannot be taught. A good recruiter knows how to spot this almost instantly. Now, with that being said, don’t put all of your stock in the first impression – sometimes they can be deceiving. But, chances are if the candidate is a complete flop, you will know it about fifteen minutes in.

Ask Follow-Ups

I’m always surprised at a number of questions warranting a follow-up that do not get one by a hiring manager. For instance, if you ask somebody what they believe their biggest strength to be, a good follow-up could be something like this: “How has your strength of leadership played out in real life scenarios?”. Follow-up questions are really important because it helps weed out the people who, 1, were not prepared, and, 2, the people who do not have much substance to their answers. For instance, Dr. Kurt Einstein was an executive recruiter who conducted research on interviewing techniques. One of Einstein’s key points was that follow-up questions force job candidates to reveal if there is any substance behind their initial programmed responses.

If you aren’t already, try implementing some of these strategies into your next round of interviews, and the right candidate is sure to come along sooner rather than later.



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