Interview Questions and TipsBy David Allen,

There is a talent war going on. People, for the first time in years, are willing to leave the “relative” safety of their jobs for new opportunities.  Companies (again for the first time in years) are willing to take the chance – in terms of time, money and effort – in hiring new employees.

This is where the two sides collide.  Job seekers are looking for a good match – one that will make them comfortable with the idea of leaving and that will pay them well. Employers are looking for their best-fit employee – one with all the skills they need, the ability to fit in culturally and the desire to stay longer than 6 weeks.

This is an exaggeration – said to highlight a point – but the reality is that companies want to make the right hiring decision.  Because of this, they need to assess the candidate through background checks, reference checks, résumé analysis and interviews.

The interview is the most crucial part of this process.  This is where you will see the applicant face to face.  You will be able to converse with him; you can see his facial expressions, his mannerisms, and his comfort level in interacting with others.  In addition, you can see how he communicates (both verbally and non-verbally) the answers to your questions.

This is what makes an interview the most crucial part of the hiring process.  People will always give you good references and people can perfect their résumé.  The interview is truly your only chance to see the “real” person…. the person that will work for you.

However, in order to succeed, hiring managers need to learn how to interview effectively.  The best interview technique to use?  Behavioral interviewing.

The basis of this technique is to ask questions that require the job seeker to provide real-life, tangible examples as part of their answer.  It is not a skill that is instantly learned.  For more tips and tricks on how to master this process, read one of our earlier blogs – How to Conduct A Behavioral Interview.

However, many of you have come to this blog wanting good interview questions to ask.  There are some that you can use….. questions that are designed to start a conversation.  This partial list includes

    •  What single project or task would you consider the most significant accomplishment in your career so far? Can  you tell me about it?
    • Describe a decision you made that was not popular and how you handled the “push back” from others. 
    • Tell me about a time you had to work with “unclear instructions”.
    • In this job, we face (insert an issue you have).  How would you go about addressing and solving this problem?

However, it is not enough to simply ask the questions, note the answers and then move on.  If you do, your interview will take 5 minutes –tops. You need to dig deeper.  Listen to the answer, make notes and further explore the applicant’s true skill set, work style, accomplishments and future objectives.

What are your thoughts?  Can you think of any follow-up questions that you could ask during the course of the interview?  Let’s start a dialogue.  Reply with your thoughts.  I would love to hear them.

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