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Asking better questions of job applicants to get better hires.
22 Jul 2019

Asking Better Questions Of Job Applicants To Make Them Think

Asking better questions of job applicants makes hiring better. Yet, most interviews still run without any agenda, planning or pre-work. People wing them. Applicants get different questions.

Worse yet, interviewers resort to the “best interview questions” that everyone knows and practices. Applicants often seek coaching on them too. So how are they the best when applicants know you will ask them? Such interviews are a waste.

Asking Better Questions Of Job Applicants Begins With Planning And Teamwork

Better questions begins with planning and teamwork if there are more than one interviewer. In essence, the team asks the same set of questions of each applicant.

Yes, interviewers can ask other questions too. Such questions might facilitate a conversational tone. They might serve as follow up to unique answers. These questions though might not count as much as the prepared ones.

Better Questions Mean Process Questions Specific To The Company

Firms know employees better than applicants. They’ve seen how employees work. It’s about process. To gain insight into how applicants work, ask process questions specific to the work the applicant will experience if hired.

Here’s how. First, think about the job and the skills it needs. Don’t make a laundry list. Keep it to a half-dozen key ones.

Getting better hires begins with asking better questions of job applicants.

Without well-planned interview questions, it’s easy for biases to taint the interviewer’s assessment of the applicant.

Then, come up with one or more scenarios for each skill. Again, the scenarios are specific to your company. Now, devise “what if” questions around them that would those skills. Finally, sort out who will ask which questions.

For example, take a plant manager or supervisor. The skills are problem solving and supervising machinists. One scenario might involve down time because of machine repairs. One “what if” question could be, “What would you do if your top machinist breaks several machines over a few months?”

Better Questions Mean Grading Answers Better

Better questions go to waste if we don’t know what a good answer is. Therefore, once you have the questions, think of potential answers. Then, grade them before any interviews take place. This wards off biases.

Now, those falling outside of these aren’t necessarily wrong. They might indicate some creative problem solving.  If you’re looking for “outside the box” thinking, they have value.

Asking Better Questions Of Job Applicants Means Work

Yes, all this means work. Yet, ask this: Did your last major technology purchase receive the same or better planning, analysis and research as your last hire did? As it seems, companies are more likely to put forth this effort with a one-time $50,000 capital expense than an annual $75,000 labor one.

This is but one reason why the research grows on hiring getting worse. The Bureau of Labor statistics alone show 95% of hiring aims at filling existing positions. Turnover’s high. If it’s not your company, then whose is it?

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