How To Conduct An Interview
Interview Tips and What to Watch For
Conducting an interview can be tricky. The process needs to be structured, consistent, and well-planned so that you'll have an objective standard to base your decision. Before an interview with a candidate, take time to review everything that's been submitted, prepare a structure for the interview, and generate a list of key questions to ask each interviewee based on the job and his or her background.
Questions to Ask
You're probably familiar with the typical job interview questions that ask about work history and plans for the future. While these are great questions to ask, they don't exactly let a candidate's personality shine. That's why we've picked some our favorite questions to help you get to know your applicants better and faster. Combine these with typical interview questions for a well-rounded Q&A session with a potential hire.
Question 1: What are some of your weaknesses?
Many people cringe at this question because it can cause the interviewee to reveal information he or she might not want to admit in an initial interview. However, this is a fantastic question to ask because it tests how candidates think under pressure, their degree of self-awareness, and their level of self-confidence. Look for someone who is able to turn his or her weaknesses around so that they resemble strengths or talks about how he or she overcame a challenge.
Types of tricky questions like these can also help hiring managers break through the "traditional interview noise and clutter" to find out more about the "raw you," according to Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant.
Question 2: What would the name of your debut album be?
The question above is actually asked to Urban Outfitters Sales Associate job candidates. These kinds of questions are often called zingers, and they're helpful when interviewing due to their mood lightening effect, creative nature, and critical thinking requirements.
Unlike many other questions asked in interviews that candidates can prepare for, zingers help you get a better sense of the applicant's personality. Some zingers demand more analytical answers, while others are meant to help break the ice. Other popular but equally interesting zingers ask about sales tactics when pushing hot chocolate in July, how many tennis balls would fit inside of a refrigerator, how to double $1,000 in less than a day, or how many staplers were bought in the U.S. last year.
Question 3: Why do you want to work here?
Ask this question if you want to know what really drives your applicant. It'll also test whether or not he or she did some homework before arriving at the interview. "Clearly, [interviewees want] to work for the [company] for several reasons, but just how [they] prioritize them reveals a lot about what's important to [them]," according to Taylor.
What to Look For:
Overall, you want someone with a can-do attitude, high energy, an understanding of the industry, and the company's mission. For entry level positions, you're probably seeking candidates with social poise, helpful demeanor, and friendly personalities. Close attention to detail, a positive attitude, and the ability to put the needs of the customer first are other important and desirable traits. Questions about past sales experience, problem solving, and selling strategies are all excellent for interviewing entry-level candidates.
For management level positions, it's essential that the person hired knows how to maintain order and handle a crisis. You're seeking a leader, one with experience in boosting sales without increasing costs. Another important trait this position requires is the ability to bring out the best in employees. Asking about issues related to employee behavior, schedules, and obstacles will help lead the interview in a helpful direction on whether to hire.
On the flipside, most candidates will come prepared with questions to ask you. Think carefully about how you compare to other competitors in the market, your brand's strength, what your weakness are, and what your most successful initiatives have been. By making the interview more of a two-way conversation, it can answer your question of whether this person is the right one for the job and address the applicant's question of whether this position is the right fit for his or her career.
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