The Dread of Interviews is the Magic of Getting the Candidate to Talk.
While we have two favorite questions that usually do the trick (shared below) the magic of a productive interview is getting the candidate to reveal a glimpse of their true self, not their interview facade. The $10,000 question is HOW?
If your interviewee is a clam shell it could be their personality of just nerves. Here are two replies you can use to open them up and begin to peel away the layers of the onion.
1. “Tell me more about that.” Example: You asked “What made you decide to obtain your paralegal certification?” She replies, “I found it interesting.” You can reply, “Great, tell me more about that.”
2. “What does that mean to you?” Example: You asked “what are you looking for in a job” and they reply “growth opportunity.” You can reply, “Ok, tell me what growth opportunity means to you.”
An alternate way to get them to open up when it doesn’t feel appropriate to respond with one of these questions is to get them to elaborate using these prompters, “That’s interesting and what would have been possible had you had all the resources to complete that project?” or “What would that look like to you in an ideal situation?”
Once you get them talking, you can go a bit deeper to really see their attitude, mindset and the way they view and operate in the world:
• If they view things positively or negatively. Is every comment how something negative happened or is it positive addressing possibility?
• If they are comfortable backstage or front stage. Are their examples administrative, behind the scenes stories or do they involve front stage activities? This is crucial to select the person who will fit the role you are hiring for. A candidate can have an impressive resume and still not be a fit for what you are looking for.
• The first impression that will impact your clients. Again, a resume can’t talk…your interviewee can…and as you get them talking pay attention to if you really enjoy interacting with them. Not only do you and your team have to work with this person everyday but your first impression will also be your client’s first impression. Too often we “work too hard” to make ourselves like a candidate and give them a pass on negative impressions…but our clients won’t. In addition, our clients won’t see our new hire every day to give them a second and third chance to redeem their first impression.
Once they start talking, your interview shifts, as it should to be more about the person and less about the resume. (Same thought process we share with our clients, that planning is about people not documents. So is hiring.) You can have 50 resumes of qualified candidates with the skill set you need. It’s finding the right fit, and that’s what the interview is designed to do. Unqualified candidates should not make it to the face to face interview phase with you.
If you aren’t sure how to go about determining “qualified” candidates or simply want to hand over this extremely time-intensive part of the hiring process, consider our Smart Hire Solution™ service. In this process we help you identify exactly what the role is you are hiring for, craft an appropriate ad designed to weed OUT unqualified candidates, review resumes, conduct telephone interviews, reference checks and ONLY THEN do we provide you with a debrief of only the best of the best for face to face interviews—where you will walk in fully equipped with the comprehensive Ultimate Smart Interview Questions™!
What are some of your successful Interview Questions?
If you want to receive our two favorite interview questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.They aren’t “magic questions” but they are darn close!