Benchmark Business Group

How To Ask Interview Questions

October 8, 2019

Hiring can be costly, especially if you hire the wrong person! Interviewing is a skillset many small businesses struggle to develop. Many owners learn by trial and error which isn’t always the best teacher.

Hiring for Success, an Inspired Action Training BBG offers, takes a step-by-step approach to helping businesses implement best practices in their business. One area we get a lot of questions, and even push back on, is the interview process.

We often hear business owners say they don’t want the interview to be too scripted or formal. The goal is often to make it feel like a conversation rather than an interview so the candidate opens up and reveals their true personality.

In reality, candidates are always guarded in the interview process. They know they are being evaluated. So even if the conversation is informal and flows like a conversation, there is still a need to uncover their true personality.

Here are two best practices that you can implement today to improve your interviews:

  • Have a list of questions. You can have a set of standard questions that you ask and still not come off as formal and scripted. A conversational interview is fine IF you ask the right questions. Having a list helps make sure the interview doesn’t get too far off topic. You can have a great conversation and not know if the candidate is a fit or not. A set of standard questions also gives you the ability to compare multiple candidates equally and fairly.
  • Match your questions to situations and scenarios the position is likely to encounter. This might seem to be a give away, but crafting interview questions that truly uncover someone’s personality and behavior traits takes a solid strategy. You have to know not just what to ask, but to have a solid strategy for why you are asking the question. This will help to ensure you know what to listen for when the candidate responds.

Example: For a front office position that is in charge of greeting clients and answering the phone you want to know if they can handle multiple client requests at the same time. You want to know if they can take care of one client without being off-putting to a client that is waiting.

To create an interview request around this you might ask, “You’re in the office alone and on a call with a client. Another client walks in the door. What do you do?” You’re looking for how the candidate naturally handles multiple client’s needs at once. Is the way they approach the situation in line with company values? There’s no one right way to answer the question and it’s not commonly asked, which helps uncover their natural response.

Depending on your business, you might also uncover if they are naturally concerned with confidentiality, by adding to the question. For instance, you might ask, “You’re gathering personal information from a client over the phone when another client walks in the door. What do you do?” If the candidate doesn’t bring up confidentiality, you might follow up with, “How would you handle gathering the client’s credit card information while another client was waiting?”

Implementing best practices for your interviews can help you avoid hiring the wrong person, but more importantly it can help make sure you don’t miss a great candidate. 

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