Interviews are all about filling an opportunity with the right person for the job. There are many ways to assess what makes someone “right” for the job. But for the prospective hire, it usually feels like a list of preconceived questions that determines their fate. In the end, you are looking for someone to complete a job, but how do you determine those off-the-resume questions to truly understand if the person you are interviewing would be a good fit for the company, not just the job?
1. Let Them Talk
The last thing any potential candidate wants is to walk into an interview and get grilled with complex, back-to-back questions. While it might be a good assessment of their behavior under pressure, you will not understand them well enough to assess if they are a good hire. Let them talk. This is a simple way to make an interview slightly more conversational. Their resume presents an excellent opportunity to do this. Let the interviewee walk you through their history. They will most likely highlight their strengths, giving you an opportunity to ask about their weaknesses. Watch their body language as they do this as well, it is an insight into how they feel about the information they are relaying. Overall, this is a good technique to get a bigger picture of your potential hire and how they will fit into the role you are trying to fill.
2. Use the Past and the Future
A common misconception for interviewees is that the interview will be based on their resume. The truth is their resume is just a starting point to see the jobs they have accomplished in the past. The real test is assessing their future. One good way to test this as the interviewer is to vary your questions from past experiences to potential ones. Classic questions such as, “Name a time you encountered a difficult problem and how you solved it,” will cover the behavior in the past. Now prompt them with future problems using a “What would you do if…” scenario. Even the hypothetical CEO question: “What would you do differently if you ran the company?” is a good indicator of both experiences. They have the opportunity to show you their vision for the future, as well as, draw on past experiences to show you they are capable of fulfilling a plan.
3. Listen to the Past and the Future
How a prospect speaks in an interview is a key determinant of how they feel about both their ability in general, and their ability in terms of the potential opportunity. As mentioned above, past experiences will show their level of experience and is important to assess when looking at fundamentally how they will perform on the job. But listen for indicators like the use of the future tense and certain pronouns to determine how confident they feel about the job they could potentially be hired into.
4. Observe their Interactions Outside the Interview
Candidates will walk into an interview with their best foot forward, but what about outside that segmented time frame? Are they professional and friendly through pre and post-interview communication? How do they speak to the receptionist? If other potential candidates are present, do they reach out? How do they interact with current coworkers? These are just little things to watch for in order to gain a bigger picture of the person you are interviewing vs the person you are potentially hiring.
5. Ask About Their Passions
Whether you are looking to fill a short-term or long-term position, it is important to consider if the candidate will feel they fit into the culture of the company and the work environment they will become immersed in. This can be a difficult concept to predict if you stick to standard interview questions. Dive deeper, find out about the prospect’s motivations, hobbies, and passions. Even in a short interview, the use of open-ended questions and listening can guide the conversation will help to illicit those topics.
If you are looking to see what we are all about, we invite you to download our TriMech Staffing Infographic for more information.