Are You Asking the Wrong Questions to Candidates? Find Out What to Ask (And What Not To)

Less than an hour. Typically, that’s all the time you have to meet with a prospective employee before you have to make a hiring decision. Sure, you can invite them back for another conversation. But you still need to base your next recruiting move on a relatively short discussion.

That dynamic puts a premium on the questions you ask during the job interview. All told, you might only get a chance to ask a half dozen questions or so (maybe not even that many). Make them count.

To get the most out of these crucial conversations, here’s how you know if you’re asking the right questions:

What to Ask:

Determining the specific questions for a job interview will depend significantly on the precise job. However, there are some general rules you can follow while selecting your prompts. Here are some concepts to help guide your process of writing interview questions:

Find out about their skills

Generic questions will get you generic answers. Going into an interview, think about the precise skills and background that will best suit the open position. With that context in mind, craft questions that will draw out the information you need most.

As part of this strategy, involve others in the question-writing process. Talk to current employees who currently do a similar job. At the same time, gather insights from managers and relevant people from throughout the organization. This will give you a strong base of information to pull from as you write your questions.

Uncover their potential

Learn about your candidates’ long-term development potential. If possible, you want to find someone who can grow with your company. Even within the current job, however, you can learn interesting facts about your prospective employee that will help you choose the right person for the current role.

Discover their professional passions

An engaged workforce provides significant benefits. You’ll see higher productivity, increased retention, and enhanced innovation. Getting your workers excited becomes easier when you understand their motivations.

The interview gives you an excellent forum to begin this process. Learn what your candidates love about their previous jobs. At the same time, find out what might inspire them if they join your organization.

What Not to Ask:

It’s surprising how few questions your get to ask in an interview. Even a conversation of an hour or more will likely center on only a few key queries. As such, it’s crucial to know what topics to avoid. That way you don’t end up wasting precious time.

With that mind, here are some guidelines on what questions not to ask at a job interview:

Time-wasting questions

You only get a short time with each job candidate. Make the best out of the situation. Don’t ask questions that prompt a retread of their resume or sparked canned responses. Rather, design your questions to evoke a real conversation.

Inappropriate questions

Some areas are out of bounds for a job interview. Asking these questions doesn’t just poison the mood of the conversation. It can create potential legal issues for your company. Here are topics to avoid:

  • Birthplace or country of origin
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Gender or sexual orientation
  • Health situation (including disability status)
  • Age
  • Family situation (including marital status, size of family and pregnancy)
  • Religion

Trick questions

As an interviewer, you want to come at topics from unexpected angles. After all, you don’t want a robotic response from your candidates.

However, there’s a danger in going too far in this direction. Tricky and confusing questions can derail an interview. You can end up dismissing a candidate for failing to live up to a situation that ultimately has little to do with their ability to perform the job.

Contact PrideStaff Bend Today

Looking to get the most out of every job interview? Start by finding the right candidates. A top recruiter, like PrideStaff, can bring you the top talent you need to take your company to the next level.

Contact PrideStaff today to find out more.

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