With so many people looking for work right now, the art of the job interview is as important as ever. And this is true for both the job candidate as well as the hiring manager.
Competition for jobs is so fierce, and hiring the wrong person can waste time, money, energy, productivity, and cause a lot of stress for everyone involved.
This article is written for the hiring manager, to help them make a great staff decision, but it is also helpful to the job candidate as they prepare for the interview.
When I coach my small business clients that are growing their business and hiring new employees, I give them the standard questions to ask, such as “Tell me about yourself”, “What are you three best skills”, “What is your biggest weakness”, “Where do you see yourself in three/five years”, “Why do you think this would be a great job for you”, etc.
We also work together to create questions that asses skill sets that they want their new hire to have a mastery of. These questions typically start with “Tell me about a time when…” and end depending on appropriate skill or characteristic that is being assessed.
“Tell me about a time when/describe a time when…”
- “… you had a disagreement with your manager, but you just knew that you were right.”
This can asses many things: conflict resolution skills and styles, relationship building & maintenance skills, communication abilities, etc.
- “… you were working with a difficult or irate customer.”
Obviously, this looks at their customer service tendencies, philosophies and behaviors.
- “…as you approached an important deadline, you saw that you weren’t going to make it.”
This can show how they prioritize and set action plans and goals, in addition to how they handle unexpected and possibly stressful situations.
- “…you had to give a poor review or rating to an underachieving employee that you were managing.”
This might give a glimpse to their leadership and mentoring abilities and styles.
Some follow up questions to their initial answers might include:
- How did you handle that?
- What was your biggest concern at the time?
- Do you feel the situation was resolved?
- Looking back, do you think you would have done anything differently?
These are great questions from the hiring manager’s perspective, and they can be difficult for the job candidate to prepare for.
I suggest an interviewee take a look at the job description and make a list of probable skills that the interviewer may want to measure appropriate for the position. Prepare examples from your experience that demonstrate positive outcomes. Sometimes there is no “right answer” – the interviewer just wants to asses your thought and communication style to see if it is a fit with theirs or with the department or company culture.
And lastly, both sides need to be very truthful when answering interview questions. If you concentrate too hard on selling yourself or your company during the intweview, you’ll probably accomplish just that. But when the new hire begins working, you might find it’s a very poor fit and will probably not have a happy ending for either side.
I hope these ideas help both job candidates and hiring managers alike.
To your succes,
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Jason E. Rosado
Business Coach & Professional Speaker
Helping entrepreneurs, small biz owners, and sales professionals achieve your ideal business in 12 months or less.
Vision, Strategy, Sales, Success.
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