If you want to find candidates that are the right fit for your business, it pays to fine-tune your interview process. A successful interview can offer powerful clues about a potential employee and speak volumes about the contribution they could potentially make to your business.
However, interviews can sometimes be as deceptive as they are illuminating – a candidate’s interviewing prowess can often fail to translate when it comes to high performance in the workplace. This is why asking the right questions is critical to making recruitment choices that are based on your head, not your heart. Here are five questions that should be part of every business owner’schecklist.
1. How will this role extend your professional abilities, and where does it fit in with your long-term career goals?
Instead of asking a candidate to identify their weaknesses, try asking them how they believe the job will play to their strengths. This can give you a powerful understanding of the way they would approach the position and identify how the role will shape their career trajectory. The power of this question stems from its ability to separate candidates who genuinely believe the role is right for them from those who simply want a job that sounds good on paper.
2. What are the biggest improvements you’ve made during the course of your career?
While it’s true that every candidate has their weaknesses and strengths, a candidate who shows a willingness to admit flaws and relentlessly seek improvement is an infinitely better choice than one that rests on their laurels. Candidates who are interested in self-improvement are also likely to extend this attitude to your business processes – a behaviour that bodes well for customer relationships, team morale and your bottom line.
3. What was the toughest piece of feedback you ever received and how did you deal with it?
Criticism in the workplace can be a touchy subject. Employees often invest emotionally in their jobs, a fact that means that negative feedback can often be taken personally. By the same token, constructive criticism is also an important vehicle for growth and and the ability to turn feedback into positive results is the hallmark of a successful employee. This question allows you to assess a potential employee’s attitude to feedback and offer insights into how they are likely to approach their work.
4. What stresses you out most at work?
While everyone can get stressed out at work, the nature of this stress can point to some important signs about the candidate’s personality type, character and outlook on life. A potential new hire who avoids confrontation like the plague is probably not the right fit for a management role, while someone who shies away from competing deadlines might not be the best person to head up your media and communications division. However, the candidate’s specific stress points shouldn’t dictate your hiring decision – it’s how they overcome stress and rise to challenges that really counts.
5. Why did you leave your last job?
There’s a reason this question is considered a job interview classic. Determining exactly why a candidate left their last job gives you a sharp understanding of their true motivation for considering this opportunity – and whether they perceive the role as a career move or just something to fill in time while they wait for the next best thing.
When you ask these questions, make sure you trust your instincts when you assess the response. Keeping your emotions out of the hiring process is the best way to choose candidates that will sow successes for your business.
This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Neha Kale is a freelance writer and editor with over six years’ experience in the media and finance industries. She has held senior editorial positions at various business and technology publications and specialises in online strategy, innovation, creativity and management best practices.