There is a wealth of typical formal and informal interview questions that hiring managers typically make use of when vetting someone for a new positio
There is a wealth of typical formal and informal interview questions that hiring managers typically make use of when vetting someone for a new position. The questions you ask are especially important when you are working with a close-knit team that you have put in the effort to build up and lead. You want to strike a balance between establishing your professional relationship early, getting useful information from potential new team members, and getting creative without overlooking important details.
This can actually be a tricky balance to strike, because many of the traditional interview questions are short-sighted or don’t go in-depth enough to give you the kind of information you need to make a decision that will be so pivotal in the long term. If you try to stray too far from tradition, however, you may end up not getting any information at all other than what your new colleague’s favorite flavor of ice cream is.
It is productive to find questions that balance the personal with the professional, because you are not just hiring for a position, you are hiring a person. Traditional interview questions can be a good place to start.
A twist on tradition
In a typical interview, you may be compelled to ask about someone’s experience and motivation. However, since these inquiries are typical, many people may come prepared already with their answers. Being prepared is not a bad thing, but it can cloud important information from immediate view.
When asking about experience, you can get creative without sacrificing the opportunity to ascertain critical information for your hiring decision. Instead of a straightforward question about experience, ask a potential new team member something that you couldn’t discern from simply glancing over their resume.
This type of question itself can be tricky, too, because many hiring managers will come out and ask about experience that is not on someone’s resume in a well-understood effort to dig deeper into their prospects, and many people are prepared for these types of questions. Again, preparation is not bad, but it may mean that the answer is slightly less genuine or at least more rehearsed.
Try asking your interviewee something along the lines of, “If you could only have one point on your resume, what would it be, and why?” This allows them to think about their personal history and why they chose to include certain elements on their resume. It prompts them to consider what they value and what experiences shaped their professional lives, as well as which personal values shaped those very experiences.
Get a little tense (past and future tense)
Do not be shy about talking about the past and the future. Ask the hard questions, for example, about gaps in someone’s resume or about why they left their last job. Be tactful, but be direct. It is much better to have these answers from the get-go than to realize later that there were issues that went unaddressed. Asking the tough questions will also make a new team member feel more comfortable, as they will realize that they have opened up to you and proved themselves despite any potential blemishes on their history.
Most importantly, think about the future, but try to approach the subject in a non-traditional way. Instead of asking them what they see in their future at your business, you can get as creative as you want. For example, ask them to perform a hypothetical self-evaluation of their own performance six months or one year from hiring; this is an open-ended way to get a feel for their goals and how well they align with yours.