Even though the weather outside would suggest otherwise, we are actually in August and the summer holidays have arrived. Yes – really. So – we should be getting out the sunscreen and the sunglasses. But when it comes to recruitment – we need to make sure the rose coloured glasses are firmly OFF and that we have a proper process for getting to the information we need in an interview.
Have you ever asked any of these questions in an interview…
- What is your greatest strength?
- What is your greatest weakness?
- Why should we pick you over the other candidates?
- What motivates you?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Tell me about yourself
- How would you handle an *angry customer*?
But what’s wrong with those questions Carole? I hear you say. Quite a lot actually. Not least the fact that you can Google – ‘most popular interview questions’ and get the “perfect” answer to those questions. Try it now – I bet most or all of those are in the top 15 interview questions.
There are specific things that are unhelpful about all of those questions, which is the subject of a much longer article – but one thing they all have in common is they are easy to answer the ‘right’ way. They are theoretical. They don’t tell you the actuals, they tell you at best what the interviewee THINKS they might do/feel etc, or at worst what the interviewee thinks YOU want them to say. What it doesn’t tell you with any security is the truth. What people think their greatest strength is, may not be. Where they think they want to be in 5 years time – is just a thought.
So how DO you get to the truth in an interview. Well for the full process and breakdown you will need to go read my book – The Book on Recruitment – How to Find and Hire Great People and Grow Your Small Business. There is a lot to it. But here is one tip.
Keep your questions focused in the past. Dig into the detail. If you ask – “Tell me about the last time you had to deal with an upset customer” (if that is an appropriate question for the role), they will have to tell you about an ACTUAL situation. You can then dig into the details. People find it hard to lie in detail. And if you then pick up on a bit of their answer 30 minutes later – if they can elaborate on the same detail, then it is likely the truth. If they have already forgotten what they said – then it’s a lie!
Of course, your questions should all align to behaviours, and those behaviours should all align to the specific competencies you are looking for – which should all be in line with your corporate strategy, vision and values. And of course those specific questions should be asked of ALL candidates – so that you have a structure by which you can assess one against the other. But that’s a longer story.
For now – if you have an interview coming up and you need to plan your questions – keep them past based and dig for details. And if you would like Chapter 8 of my book for free – The 10 most Common Mistakes Other Business Owners Make When Hiring and How to Avoid Them – email me here and I will send it to you – for free!
Whatever you are doing in August – I wish you a happy and prosperous month ahead, and please – remember to take off those rose coloured sun specs when hiring!