In the competitive 2023 job market, finding great talent is essential. This blog explores the challenges faced by hiring managers and offers valuable insights on how to navigate the changing landscape. Discover the power of AI platforms and strategic interview questions to identify exceptional candidates and make informed hiring decisions.
Technological growth and post-COVID process improvements have made way for some major changes to the 2023 hiring landscape. An overflow of applicants can be a double-edged sword: while there are options aplenty, and varying education and experiences to go with them, sorting through the talent pool to find the best fit for your company is harder than ever.
These days, forerunning organizations from all industries have recognized the importance of relying on groundbreaking AI platforms to sniff out and snag the best candidates for specific roles. It’s been especially great for the world of diversity and inclusion, as AI can help your recruiters avoid any unconscious bias in their resume reviews. Chances are, once your AI system or staffing agency presents you with candidates, and especially if they’ve been vetted by recruiters, 95% of the elimination work is already done.
Enter: interviews. The ideal opportunity to understand a candidate, the interview process cannot be underestimated without consequence. Having appropriate questions in place before the interview is a sure-fire way to arrive at thoughtful hiring decisions. A 2021 study by the US Department of Labor showed that regrettable hiring decisions could cost a company up to $240,000 is lost investment. That means making the right decision the first time is essential – both in terms of time and finances. But how can you as a hiring manager ensure that you’re bringing on the correct people?
Let’s play a game of 20 questions… that is, 20 interview questions that can bridge the gap between finding good hires and great ones.
1. To start, can you tell me a bit about yourself?
The average interview lasts 45 – 60 minutes, and so kicking it off in an open-ended fashion isn’t a bad thing. Instead, it gives the candidate a chance to calm their nerves and direct the conversation toward their strengths.
2. What factors have influenced your decision to explore new opportunities and leave your current employer?
Open your listening ears wide for this one. How a candidate answers this question can tell you what you and your company need to do to prevent having to replace a short turnover role. It’s also a chance to read the candidate’s adaptability – do they refuse to grow along with their roles or company trajectory?
3. Can you provide details about any recent projects you’ve worked on that you find particularly interesting or impactful?
40% of candidates admit to bold-face lying on their resumes. Asking about projects gives them a chance to substantiate their skills list.
4. How would you describe your preferred work style?
Find out if they’re more inclined to collaborate closely with a team or independently. Do they have any experience with remote work?
5. What specifically attracted you to this position and our organization?
Candidates who didn’t research the company or position probably aren’t as invested in the opportunity as the best fit person for the role will be.
6. What are your salary expectations for this role?
How you phrase this question is important, because in some states, it’s not legal to ask directly about salary history. But it’s certainly advisable to ask about what they’re expecting from your company and the role.
7. What would you say is your most valuable career skill?
8. Can you share an example of how you’ve effectively responded to constructive criticism in the past?
Receiving and handling negative feedback is a part of professional growth. You’ll want to know that the person you hire is not just willing to receive your input – they should be excited by the opportunity to grow and willing to put in the work!
9. Can you provide an example of a situation where your persistence paid off in achieving a desired outcome?
At the end of the day, all organizations have new initiatives or stalled projects. The more employees you can get in your corner who are doers, the fewer delays you’ll have.
10. How do you typically respond to challenges and high-pressure situations in the workplace?
Listen closely to gauge their adaptability and problem-solving approach. The ideal candidate has balance – they don’t shy away from challenge, but they also don’t purposely procrastinate to feel the rush of a missed deadline.
11. Work aside, what are your personal priorities and interests?
If you feel like the candidate may be wearing thin with the particulars of the interview process, it might be a good time to reset with a personal question. Just remember that you can’t ask specific questions that could lead to unintentional bias like, “Do you have kids?”
12. Beyond what’s listed on your resume, is there anything notable about you or your experiences that you would like to share?
Resumes are tough, especially because experienced professional ones are usually limited to one page. Make space for candidates to provide the details they may have needed to omit to get past the AI readers.
13.How do you effectively manage productivity in the long-term?
You’re not seeking a project manager (unless you are hiring for that role!), but you are looking for someone who can manage their own workload on the day-to-day for longer than the first few weeks.
14. From your perspective, what does DEI mean, and how do you think it should be integrated into the workplace?
This is a simple yet necessary question to ask any potential new employees. If your company is committed to addressing DEI in the workplace, you’ll want to know that your employees understand the meaning and importance of DEI and will abide by workplace culture expectations.
15. How do you approach understanding and respecting the perspectives of individuals from different cultural backgrounds?
Collaboration and understanding among colleagues from diverse backgrounds is essential. Especially in a global company, this gives you a chance to dig deeper into the candidate’s DEI mindset.
16. Can you highlight any leadership positions (either in role or project) that you’ve held in the past and the impact you made?
Even if you’re not hiring for management, the ability to take the lead is one that will serve an employee well – both in junior roles and as they progress in the company.
17. What’s your preferred management style?
It’s important to match your management style to your employees’, and – if the candidate will be supervising others – to match their management style to those they’ll oversee.
18. How do you foster collaboration, effective communication, and trust with colleagues?
A stranger to active engagement with others could be problematic, especially given that many employees are remote now. The soft skills they’ve developed in previous roles could be make or break in your workplace’s culture.
19. How do you deal with conflict or difficult team members?
If they don’t address this when you ask number 18, be sure to follow up with this question. It’s easy to foster collaboration with collaborative colleagues – but what about someone whose personality isn’t a match?
20. Is there anything specific you would like to know about the role, our company, or the team?
Especially for entry-level candidates, assure them that you want them to ask questions, because they might be intimidated! For more senior level applicants, they’ll just appreciate that you left them time and space to get their questions answered.
With these 20 interview questions under your belt, you’re unlikely to miss a single important detail about your candidates. One final tip – remember, while maintaining a casual and conversational tone can make an interview more enjoyable, it’s essential to strike the right balance of professionalism to ensure a respectful and productive exchange. Now, go find your next employee superstar!