Sit down with the direct report manager
and go through the job description.
Together, hone in on the top three skills
that are absolutely essential to the role.
Remember, other skills can be taught on
the job. This exercise will help you frame
questions that allow the candidate to elaborate
and speak to his or her capabilities.
Always ask for examples – it will help you
get a clear idea of pertinent skills and help
separate the wheat from the chaff. Getting
the department lead’s weigh-in will also
ensure there are no surprises when it
comes to expectations.
2. WILL THE WAY YOU’VE WORDED
THE QUESTION GIVE YOU THE
ANSWER YOU’RE LOOKING FOR?
There’s something to be said for ambiguity
in certain situations, but it has no place in
an interview setting. Ambiguous questions
not only draw out an interview, making it
longer than it needs to be, but also won’t
give you the answer you’re looking for.
Make sure to look over the wording of
your questions beforehand. Read them
out loud and ask someone else if what
you’re asking is clear. This will help you
cut down on confusion and maximize the
time allocated to each candidate. It will
also ensure you get the answers you’re
looking for to decide whether this candidate
is the real deal.
Also, consider the seniority of the role.
Questions should be tailored to the level
you’re hiring at; it’s unrealistic to think a
junior candidate will have the same knowledge
of the industry and scope of the
position compared to that of a more senior,
3. DOES YOUR QUESTION
ADDRESS CULTURAL FIT?
Great HR departments and hiring
managers understand how important
cultural fit is to their company. How
well an employee feels connected to
the mission, values and attitudes of an
organization often determines how
well they’ll perform, because motivation
counts for so much. Need proof?
You can probably think of an example
where someone who’s unhappy in their
job gives off a toxic vibe. It’s the same
with new hires; don’t underestimate the
impact a fresh face will have on team dynamics,
good or bad.
When you’re going over your shortlist
of questions, make sure at least 30
per cent of them touch on a trait that
will help you determine whether or not
the interviewee will be a good cultural
fit. Is your organization relaxed? Ask
the candidate what they would do in a
high-stress situation and assess their response.
Want to know if the candidate
shares similar visions? Ask them what
traits they find most valuable in the
Applying these three steps to every
interview process helps lead to stronger
hires. A business is only as good as its
people, so invest in refining your interview
technique now to reap the longer
term rewards. n
Lee-Martin Seymour is co-founder and
CEO of Xref.
THERE’S SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR
AMBIGUITY IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS, BUT IT
HAS NO PLACE IN AN INTERVIEW SETTING.
34 ❚ JULY 2017 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL