Ask the Right Questions to Identify the Right Recruits

There are plenty of tips for job seekers on how to behave in an interview, but what’s the secret to successfully conducting one? Using the right interview techniques can help employers identify a candidate that is not only technically competent, but a good fit for the company culture as well, according to Nina Mapson Bone, Robert Half Parramatta director.

“Successfully conducting interviews is something that requires just as much preparation as if you were on the other side of the interview desk,” says Mapson Bone. “It’s important to ask the right questions of candidates in order to properly evaluate them.”

With that in mind, here are some recommendations from Robert Half to help interviewers conduct a successful job interview.

Know what you are looking for—Prior to interviewing any candidates, employers should undertake a skills audit so they know exactly what qualifications they require in a candidate. You can then match these skills with those listed on the candidate’s resume and filter applications accordingly. Also, understand your role in the interview process and ensure you thoroughly prepare in advance by formatting specific questions relevant to each candidate.

Start the interview on the right foot—Interviews can be nerve wracking at the best of times so put your candidate at ease from the start by commencing the interview with a proper introduction. Even if you have spoken before, it’s important to re-introduce yourself and state your position within the company.

Decide which questioning techniques to use—Competency-based questions are ideal to determine whether the candidate has the expertise for the position you’re trying to fill. They involve asking questions to reveal a candidate’s behaviour and go beyond their technical skills. This can include questions such as; “How did you approach this task” or “How did you overcome this difficulty.” Interviewers can also utilise the ‘funnelling’ principle by asking a broad question, then following up with more specific questions. If you are having a difficult time getting a candidate to open up, try using a few easy questions mixed in with more difficult ones to help relax the candidate. Using these techniques will reveal strengths and weaknesses to the interviewer as well.

Get to the bottom of it—Sometimes you may feel that a candidate is exaggerating their level of experience or perhaps they talk in the plural which makes it difficult to determine their role in team projects. In order to find the truth of the matter, ask targeted follow-up questions regarding their personal contribution to a team such as, “What was the main objective of this project and how did you achieve this?”

Demonstrate the company culture to candidates—Candidates are judging your organisation as much as you are judging them, therefore knowing your company benefits and being able to articulate them is crucial. Does your company offer any benefits such as health insurance or child care facilities? Be honest about your personal experiences and introduce them to other members of the team. Candidates work for their managers as much as they do for the company.

Don’t hesitate to discuss salary—By discussing the topic of salary throughout the interview process you are able to manage a candidate’s expectations and reassure them that you can work together to reach a mutual agreement. However, it is vital not to commit to any exact compensation figures or extend any offers during these discussions.

Make the most of reference checks—If you are interested in a candidate following the first interview, begin reference checking before their next interview. This allows you to address any specific concerns you have about a candidate and tailor your questions accordingly for the next interview. Be mindful that no one wants to be the reason why someone didn’t get a job, so ensure that you listen carefully to a person’s tone while speaking and ask them questions that require a bit of explanation.

Close the interview properly—Finally, don’t leave candidates wondering what’s next. Outline the next steps and give them an expectation of timings. “In the end, asking the right questions throughout the interview process should provide ample information to assess each candidate,” explained Mapson Bone. “With enough information you can confidently choose the best person for your organisation.”

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*Robert Half International Inc. (RHI) pioneered specialised staffing services.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of or the publishers.

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