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So, you’ve shortlisted your candidates, and the fortunate few have been invited to interview.

The interview is the make-or-break point of your Recruitment process. The interview is where you differentiate the ‘walkers’ from the ‘talkers’. The best interview questions can help you to achieve the best recruitment outcomes.

This is where a candidates’ CV comes to life.

The difficult part? Asking the right questions to get the best candidates.

Below are just examples of the type of questions you should be asking – the questions that you actually ask should align with the competencies that you are assessing against. Nail down your competencies – nail down the best interview questions.


Start Basic

You should start off with the most basic questions that allow you to explore the candidates’ previous experience and motivations for applying for this role.

  1. “What’s your greatest achievement in your career so far?”
  2. “What do you love about your current job?”
  3. “Why have you chosen to leave your current job?”

Get to know the Candidate

Then, you should begin to create a personality profile for the candidate.

  1. “Tell me about a time that you had to overcome a challenge.”
  2. “Describe something innovative that you have come up with.”
  3. “Tell me about a situation in which you’ve had to take charge of a group of people to achieve something.”

After asking a combination of the above questions – you know why they’ve applied for the role, and whether or not their personality will fit in with the Company culture. This is your opportunity, providing you’re happy with their answers so far, to add the finishing touches to their personality profile.

  1. “So, where do you want to be in 5/10 years?”
  2. “Tell me about the relationships you have built during your previous role.”

You now have almost an entire profile of the candidates’ personality, from which you can decide whether or not they are suitable for the Company. At this point, it would be advantageous to ask the candidate why they think you should hire them.

  1. “How will your set of skills benefit this Company?”
  2. “Why shouldn’t I hire you?”
  3. “What are your strengths/weaknesses?”

Paint a Picture

Asking questions similar to the above will put you in a strong position to make either a hiring or a shortlisting decision. By now, you have an idea of a few things:

  • The personality profile of the candidate
  • How they will fit in with the Company culture
  • How they feel they will fit in with the Company culture

There are other methods that can be explored for for building a personality profile of a candidate so that, when the candidate comes to interview, you already have an idea of who they are. Decide which works best for you, and align it with your competencies.


To conclude – asking the best interview questions can mean that you are more likely to recruit the best candidates for the role. From an interview, you want to get an idea of what the candidate is like.

Asking questions that are similar to the above, which are aligned with the competencies you are assessing against, will allow you to do this.

Have you tried any of the questions above? Did they work? Or, do you find that other questions work better? Please, let us know!

For all you candidates reading this

So, you now know the sort of questions you can expect to be asked. Don’t worry – it’ll be our little secret!

 

7 Steps to the best Recruitment Campaign ever

 

There is an eclectic range of interview questions that you can ask your candidates – the question is: which shouldn’t you ask?

Your interview questions should be specific to the role, and the value that the candidate can bring to the role. You should only ask them personal questions if the job role demands it – other than that, you should steer clear of them completely.


In an interview, the last thing you want to do is give the candidate the impression that you are discriminating against them – or, that you are assessing them using meaningless details.

If word gets around that your Company discriminates during interviews – your reputation will take a serious hit. This could mean that you receive lower quality applicants, and you have access to a much smaller talent pool. In other words – if you are known to discriminate, your recruitment goals will be much harder to achieve.


There are certain questions that you should, generally, avoid:

  1. “How old are you?”

Are you familiar with the phrase: “you should never ask a woman her age”? Well, this applies when you’re interviewing candidates. That’s not to say that this only applies to your female candidates – it doesn’t. This rule applies generally, to all of your candidates.

Why? First of all, they may get offended by you asking them such a personal question. Second of all, it doesn’t really matter! Their age will not take away from how suitable they are to the role – it shouldn’t even cross your mind. You don’t want them to get the impression that this is important to their application – this reflects negatively on your employer brand.

  1. “How far do you have to travel to work?”

Many interviewers feel as though this question is perfectly acceptable to ask. And, in some cases, asking a slight variation can be fine – “are you able to start work at 9am, and finish at 5pm?”, for example.

However, it could give the candidate the impression that it will come into consideration with their application. You don’t want them to feel as though their commute will impact their application negatively, and that the person closest to the office is more likely to be offered the job.

  1. “Where are you from?”

There’s no subtle way of asking this question – it just comes across as rude. Their nationality should not have any bearing on their application, so you don’t need to know it.

However, you are allowed to ask if they’re legally authorised to work in the UK – because, for legal reasons, you need to know this. However, their exact nationality isn’t important.

Asking this question could get you into a lot of trouble. Imagine: you ask a candidate where they’re from, then they don’t get the job. What are they going to think? Whatever it is – it won’t be good for your reputation.

  1. “Are you married?”

This is an extremely personal question, and should be avoided at all costs. First of all, the candidate may interpret this question as your subtle way of asking about their sexual orientation – another question which should never be asked. This can make the candidate feel awkward, and give the wrong impression of your company culture.

Second of all, the candidate may feel as though you’re trying to… you know… hit on them. Which, of course, is extremely unprofessional. To maintain a professional exterior, and the impression that you are a fair company – don’t do it.

  1. “Do you have/do you intend to have children?”

Under no circumstances should you ask a candidate if they have children, or if they plan to have children in the future. Asking this question can give the candidate the impression that it will impact their application negatively – that you discriminate against individuals with children.

How? First of all, they may think that you, as the employer, will assume they will need to work fewer hours because of their children. Second of all, they may get the impression that you won’t hire them because they’ll be taking maternity/paternity leave at some point in the future. Both of which will severely impact your employer brand and reputation.


Above are just 5 of the questions that you shouldn’t ask your candidates – there are plenty more. Before you even post the job advert, you should have a clear set of questions that you’ll ask the successful candidates – which have been signed off by a number of different people.

Put yourself in their shoes – what would you think, if you were asked one of the above questions?

 

We’d love to hear about any interview questions you’ve been asked, that you felt were completely unnecessary. Comment below!

 

7 Steps to the best Recruitment Campaign ever

 

stay interview questions

Your Stay Interview questions are extremely important. But, with so many possible options available – where do you get started?

It’s important to get your Stay Interview questions right. Getting it wrong can mean that you invest your time, energy and resources into asking the wrong questions.

This can lead to poor retention data. If your data doesn’t tell you anything about why your employees stay – it’s a wasted opportunity.

At first, you will invest your time, energy and resources into figuring out which questions are most beneficial to your company. As a result, your data may be skewed for a short period of time. But, this investment will enable you to narrow down your questions to those which are most effective. It’s important to remember that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to the right questions to ask.


Download our e-book for more great tips on stay interviews and how they could help your business


Here at some tips to consider, when forming your set of perfect questions:


1. What do you want to do with the stay-interview data after?

First and foremost, this is a battle between qualitative and quantitative data.

Do you want to collate all of the data into a graph at the end? Then consider using questions that translate into quantitative data.

Do you want to file a report on all of the reasons why your employees leave or stay? If so, open and probing questions will deliver more qualitative data.

In our experience, a mix of both may be the best option. Qualitative data can take a long time to analyse. Our clients tell us that, if there is one thing they are guilty of, it’s not taking the time to properly analyse the results.

Similarly, too much quantitative data can generate simplistic evidence – it won’t explain everything in as much depth as may be beneficial.

retention interviews


2. Your company values

You would like to think, considering this individual has a job at your company, that they are familiar with your company values.

Better yet – you would like to think that, whilst they are at work, they live and breathe your company values.

Many companies have a set of core values. Consider incorporating your company values into yourStay Interview questions.

Try basing some of the questions entirely around your core values. This will, indirectly, allow you to get a feel as to how engaged the employee is.

retention interviews

3. Avoid questions that contribute to the ‘Company Ego’

Having reviewed hundreds of Stay Interviews, we know that questions such as “Why are we the best company to work for?” are, without a shadow of a doubt, to be avoided. However, they still crop up time and time again. You don’t want to give the impression to the employee that the ‘Company Ego’ is more important to you – especially not in their Retention Interview.

Asking these sorts of questions generates extremely biased data and feedback – meaning that it’s completely invaluable to you. If you ask questions with the obvious answer, don’t be surprised if the majority of people tell you about how amazing your company is.

Questions that go for an extra level of depth can be much more beneficial. Try one of our favourites – “If you were approached by an external recruiter about a new role elsewhere, what reasons would you give them for wanting to stay here?”

This type of situational question is more real-life. Your new hire will have time to reflect. This should allow you to elicit much better evidence about the new-starter experience.

The Stay Interview questions are just one piece of the puzzle – it must be right, but the questions must also align with how and when you conduct the interviews.

Are you finding you have high turnover and want to find out why your staff might be leaving? Click here to find out how Cohesion can help you.