A few weeks ago, I talked about how as a small business owner, you could make the recruitment process simple and straightforward by following and putting into practice a number of steps.
One of the steps that was mentioned explained that it’s always strongly advised that you learn how to interview in an appropriate way for the vacancy that’s on offer.
Of the different aspects that you have to keep in mind when interviewing, the most important is arguably having the correct questions ready to ask any potential interviewee.
Whilst you should have some questions prepared that are specific to the role, your business and your industry, the following five questions are all fantastic ones to ask in any interview and should ensure that you’re able to get a good, all round idea of the person that you’re interviewing.
1. Tell me about yourself
Although this question can seem relatively open ended to the interviewee, what you’re looking for is a bit of an introduction into their working life (and personal, if appropriate), tying it loosely into the position that you have available.
As lovely as it may be to hear about their childhood and their time at college, you’re wanting basically a snapshot of their working life, including things such as promotions and examples of progression.
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2. Where do you aspire to be in five, 10 and 20 years time?
A question that’s going to allow you to judge the interviewee’s aims and ideas of their chosen career path, the most important point that you’re looking for here is some type of progression.
If the person says that they want to be working in a completely different industry to the one that your business operates in or they want to remain at their current level for the rest of their life, you need to ask yourself whether they’re going to be truly dedicated to your business.
3. Can you give me an example of a time when you’ve been involved in conflict and if so, how was it resolved?
No matter how much of an angel the person seems, it’s extremely unlikely that they’ve never encountered any type of conflict and so if they come out and say that they’ve never been involved in any conflict, you need to probe further.
What you’re looking for here is that they basically haven’t stormed off upset and annoyed that someone’s disagreed with them in the workplace and they’ve had the right skills to put across their point and bring the discussions to an amicable end.
4. Can you give me an example of a time where you’ve gone above and beyond what has been required of you or where you’ve delivered some outstanding results?
Every business wants to hire the best people that it can and therefore don’t beat around the bush – ask the interviewee straight if they can provide examples of when they’ve been fantastic in their career.
They might have exceeded their sales targets or they may have received some outstanding praise for a certain project, but whatever it is, keep in mind that the results are likely to reflect the person’s past and this needs to be taken into consideration – a newly graduated trainee accountant, for example, isn’t going to have the same experiences and results as someone who has been in the industry for 20 years.
5. Why should I hire you?
This is the part where the interviewee is about to give you their sales pitch, so be prepared.
What you need to be looking out for here is a lot of facts to back up their examples. Examples of how they’ve been “a fantastic team player” or “a customer focused individual” for instance.
It’s easy to spout a lot of clichéd phrases that can make the interviewee seem particularly fantastic at this point, so listen intently and make note of any instances where they can back up their claims.
Interviews can be just as nerve-wracking for the interviewer as they are for the interviewee, but as long as you prepare in advance and have your questions written down, there’s no reason why the interview shouldn’t go as smoothly as it possibly can.