Interviewing 101: 10 Questions That Will Give You the Best Results

By Alicia Geigel on October 23, 2020

In the general workforce, when it comes to hiring, there is always a conversation that typically centers around the interviewee and how to have a good interview as well as secure the job. Rarely do we hear advice or tips for employers on how to conduct effective interviews and more importantly, ask the right questions. Many often hold the opinion that for employers, there is only so much to do in the realm of asking questions or the interviewing process, however, this couldn’t be farther from the case.

As an employer, conducting a good interview is not reliant just on the interviewee, but you as well. If you are a new recruiter, manager, or overarching hiring employer, interviewing potential employees can be both stressful and uncomfortable. What are the right questions to ask? Is it better to be kind and welcoming or firm and reserved? How long should the questions be? How many questions should be asked? You, like many other employers out there, may be asking yourself these questions and wondering how best to navigate the world of managing interviews for your company. This comprehensive guide will give you all the tips and tricks necessary to conduct the best interviews, from building confidence to delivering the right questions!

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Best Interviewing Practices to Utilize

Recognize Your Goal and Remain Confident: Whether it’s your first time interviewing a candidate or you’re accustomed to the process, it never fails to recognize your end goal and remain confident along the way. What does recognizing your end goal mean in this sense? It means truly digging deep within your company and its culture to find out the missing piece that this potential employee can fill. If your company is desperately seeking a programmer, zero in on applicants that have the relevant, desirable traits. Jeff Haden, a writer for Linkedin, suggests, “Identify that critical need, determine how you measure success in the position, assess the common attributes of your top performers, determine what qualities mesh with your culture.”

Establish a Welcoming Environment: We have all had experiences being interviewed for a job. These experiences are nerve-wracking, stressful, intimidating, uncomfortable, and sometimes downright scary. As an employer, it’s important to empathize with this common experience and establish a welcoming environment for the person you are interviewing. Though nerves will be present regardless, being kind and welcoming instead of cold and distant will not only give the person a sense of the work environment, but it will also allow them to open up and show you their best potential. After all, you want potential employees to shine and not feel as if they are being stifled!

Take Your Time Interviewing: More often times than not, we become so goal-oriented that we simply focus on the finish line, rather than the race. As an employer conducting interviews, you want to take your time both talking and listening to prospective candidates. For one, you don’t want to miss anything that they say because you’re focused on what your response will be. Taking the time to address all of your questions, all of their questions, and simply get to know the interviewee ensures a well-rounded interview that will help to narrow down the right person to fulfill the position.

Ensure a Proper Balance of Talking/Listening: Many people often think that job interviews consist of the interviewer asking a few questions while the interviewee fills the silence the whole time. While it is important for the job candidate to have adequate time to talk about themselves, their qualifications, and why they are a good fit for the job, it’s also important for you, the interviewer to do some talking as well. In order to conduct a good interview, be sure to have a proper balance to talking and allowing the interviewee to talk as well. In a blog post by BetterTeam, they note, “You should do some talking, and answer questions about the business, but listen carefully, pay attention to what they’re saying, and keep the interview focused on the candidate.”

Clarify Any Questions and End on a Positive Note: When the interview is nearing the end, you don’t want to abruptly send the interviewer out and leave them with unanswered or ambiguous questions they may have about the position or company. As you sense the interview is almost over, ask the interviewee if they have any additional questions, need a point reiterated, or would like something cleared up. Additionally, end on a positive note by detailing the next steps of the selection process, and always give closure. Whether or not you decide to hire an interviewee, it’s not only respectful but also right to notify them if they got the position or not.

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Top Questions to Ask as an Interviewer

When was a time that you received critical feedback from a supervisor? What was the criticism and how did you respond to it? Let’s be honest, no one likes to hear when they are doing a bad job or could be doing something better. We are all human, and thus susceptible to making mistakes and receiving critical feedback from our bosses/employers. When interviewing a job candidate, posing this question might crank up the pressure, however, it can say a lot about the person you are interviewing if they can acknowledge a setback or mistake while on the job, and comment on how such an experience changes their mindset. Someone who is accepting of critical feedback will be a great addition to your company, no matter what the position may be.

What one specific skill makes you most qualified for this position? First and foremost, relevant experience and a desirable skillset are the qualities that make a candidate desirable by any company. Personality and references matter, of course, but without a skill set that matches the candidate to the position, there is no point in hiring. Asking this question gives the interviewee the opportunity to highlight points on their resume that needed further elaboration, and allows for them to go into detail about what sets them apart from all other applicants.

Kat Boogaard of The Muse notes, “Not only do you get to hear more detail about what that candidate considers to be his core competencies, but it’s also a chance to confirm that he has the appropriate understanding of everything the role entails.”

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Most candidates are prepared to answer this question, as job seekers are more than ready to impress potential employers. In the job world, who doesn’t want to flaunt their accolades and show what they’ve accomplished as a professional? By asking this question, you give the interviewee an opportunity to show their strengths through storytelling, as well as make them feel confident by allowing them to share an experience that highlights their good traits. Uplifting this person by posing this question can further help the interview go smoother!

How do you describe your working style? Are you a team player or independent worker? Each one of us has a specific working style. Some of us are leaders and like to take charge of a situation, while others like to follow along and blend in with the crowd. Determining what kind of working style your potential employee has is important, as it dictates the functionality of your company and office environment. If the tasks and goals within your workspace need to be completed by multiple people, then a team player is necessary to fill the role. If individual projects take up the bulk of operations then someone more independent would work just fine.

What is a weakness of yours that you would like to change? Do you see this as an environment to improve this weakness? Just as you would ask a candidate about their strengths and greatest accomplishments, its just as important to ask about their flaws and weaknesses as a worker.

A lot of times, candidates feel uncomfortable with this type of question and often conjure a response that sounds something like “I take work too seriously”, “I’m a perfectionist”, or “I work too hard”, which in that case, try to crack open that statement and get to the core of what that means for that person, and more specifically, what it means for them within your company. Additionally, a candidate that can freely discuss weaknesses with you in the interview displays confidence and strength in itself, a quality worth noting!

What is most exciting about this position? There’s an age-old saying that goes, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” While a broad set of skills, a higher education background, and experience can all be taught, one thing that cannot be taught is passion and enthusiasm. If you can sense that the interviewee is excited, enthusiastic, and passionate by their answer to this question, then you can gauge that they will dedicate themselves to the job and be a great worker.

Why do you think this job/our company is the right fit for you? In most situations, employers will be hiring for the long term, and not looking to fill a position temporarily. When interviewing your candidate, posing this question will give you insight into a few notable things. Firstly, the interviewee’s answer can tell you just how much research they have put into both the job position and your company. Secondly, their response can help you determine whether or not they are looking at this as a permanent, long-term job, or merely a job to do for a paycheck until something better comes along. While of course, not everyone has plans of retiring from the job they are currently at, depending on what kind of person you are looking for, this answer can be a deal-breaker.

What motivates you to work and accomplish tasks? While the question itself is simple, this gives the interviewee the opportunity to give a thoughtful answer regarding what their motives are. Money, contributing to a greater good, working in a field they are passionate about, etc. are all common motives for people to work, and depending on the position and what kind of candidate you are looking for, a question like this can give you better insight on their ability to perform on the job. We all have different motivations when working, and a well-thought-out answer to the question can demonstrate the qualities of a great candidate.

Why are you leaving your current employer? Nothing quite nerves a potential job candidate like a question surrounding their old job/employer. Realistically, no one wants to look bad in the eyes of an interviewer for leaving a job, or be put in a position to feel like they are speaking badly about their former employer. While this question can be uncomfortable for the interviewee, as an employer, the answer to this question can give you insight into this employment history and any bad traits the person might have. Depending on the answer, a question like this can reveal whether or not you want this candidate in your company.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Establishing where the candidate sees their professional career within a specific timeframe can give you insight on their goals, as well as their career ambitions. A blog post by Apollo Technical suggests, “An ambitious professional with a clear set of goals for the short, medium, and long term, is an invaluable asset to the company. As they grow professionally and financially, the company grows and expands too.”

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Image via Pexels

Interviewing for a new position within your company can feel overwhelming for a number of reasons, such as demonstrating proper interviewing etiquette or asking the best questions to have the best results. While all interviews will differ from person to person, one thing that remains clear is: preparation is key. The line of questions for a candidate don’t have to be rigid, however, asking the ten posed questions above will give you just the right amount of insight to determine the next perfect fit for your company!

By Alicia Geigel

Uloop Writer
Temple alum | columnist at Uloop News | writer at Top5Must & KnowPhilly | photographer | food blogger

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