Think about the moment a job candidate walks into the interview room, or maybe joins your Zoom call. Are you prepared for the conversation that comes next? If picking the perfect employee out of a pool of candidates feels like a lot to ask, that could be because you’re not ready with the right questions.
The interview stage of any hiring effort is an opportunity to evaluate the skills, experience, and personalities of your prospective new hires. This is the time to determine how well the candidate fits within areas such as your company’s culture. Really, though, it’s when you find out if the person behind the resume is truly an employee who can ultimately grow within your organization.
Landing on that answer only happens if you’re inviting the right responses. Turnover, productivity, and the overall happiness of your workplace hinge on who you hire. These interview questions will help you better identify candidates that will truly bolster your team.
Interview Questions to Assess Culture Fit
According to Harvard Business Review, interviews are the most used measurement of a job candidate’s culture fit, a category that happens to be “the number one hiring criterion employers report using.” There are some good reasons why that’s the case.
For one, culture is what attracts candidates to your company in the first place. In the most recent Job Seeker Nation Report from Jobvite, 86 percent of the employees who responded said that company culture is a somewhat to very important part of their decision to apply for a position. Nearly a third stated that culture and values would ultimately influence their decisions to accept a job offer.
Culture is what also encourages employees who are already employed by your company to both perform at a high level and stick around. A study from Columbia University found that the probability of turnover is nearly 35 percent lower at businesses that possess a strong company culture. Meanwhile, businesses without that culture see drops in productivity, profitability, and job growth, among other issues.
So, it’s essential that the hires you bring in contribute toward the culture you’ve established, especially if trust matters to your organization. Ask these interview questions to help identify candidates that are culture fits:
- “What excites you about this position with our organization?” Dig into why the interviewee is pursuing your company. Their responses can clue you into whether their values line up with those of your team.
- “What is your most recent professional success story?” This question showcases a workplace achievement and reveals how the candidate defines success. From getting a project approved to helping coach a teammate, determine the types of accomplishments the interviewee takes pride in.
- “If you could create your ideal workplace, what would that look like?” Yes, it’s essential for you to be happy with the person you hire. Your employee needs to be glad they’re working for your company, too. Very few workers look forward to simply clocking in, punching their card before every workday. Make sure the candidate you choose is going to enjoy your environment.
Interview Questions to Assess Soft Skills
Speaking of positive company cultures, if you want to build or maintain one, then your business to needs to be prioritizing soft skills during its interviews. Collaboration, critical thinking, and communication are among the soft skills team members must have to effectively work together. Businesses should ask questions that identify those abilities.
More businesses are currently doing exactly that.. A recent Harris Poll revealed that three-quarters of companies value soft skills more than ever before. With workplaces becoming increasingly remote, it’s increasingly important that team members “be flexible, adapt to change quickly and be innovative.”
Companies are on the lookout for labor that adapts, problem-solves, and takes initiative. So should your business. Here are some sure-fire questions for spotting soft skills in the job candidates you interview:
- “How do you approach accomplishing a task that’s new to you? How do you explain a new task to a coworker?” This two-parter is a way to evaluate critical thinking skills and understand the candidate’s ability to collaborate and communicate.
- “Describe a time when results didn’t go as planned. How did you adapt to this change?” Remember that earlier note about the importance of flexibility? This is how you detect if the candidate possesses that quality.
- “What is a work process or procedure you improved while in one of your previous positions?” The best team members know how to spot areas for organizational improvement and take productive action to make those updates.
Interview Questions to Assess Abilities and Experience
It’s probably a good idea for your new hire to have at least some background performing the tasks your open position requires. That sounds pretty obvious, right? Well, resumes don’t always reveal the real extent of a candidate’s experience. Interviews represent an important chance to get to the bottom of a jobseeker’s background. They can also help your business bypass some significant risks.
Depending on the position, untrained hires can pose safety threats to themselves, your other employees, and potentially even clients. Productivity is impacted, too. Inexperience lengthens the amount of time until the employee can contribute at a high level. And once they do learn their position, they may realize it’s not for them. Those conclusions impact turnover.
Accurately gauging a candidate’s experience and abilities can prevent you from spending on resources such as training and other costs related to inexperience. Start with these questions to separate your interviewees who have the appropriate skills to fill your open position:
- “Can you tell me more about that experience?” Single out an accomplishment or a credential from the candidate’s time with a previous employer and ask to hear more about it.
- “What specific skills did you pick up during your most recent job?” How the candidate responds should match up with the skills required of your position.
- “What is the biggest technical challenge you faced in your last job?” Find out if the candidate knows the industry and can overcome a job-related issue.