The interview process has changed dramatically over the last 20 years.
In the past, there was the opportunity to get a “surprise” interview question that caused candidates to pause and have to think on their feet to answer it as best as possible. Many companies used these types of questions to weed out the strong candidates from the weak.
However, with the growth of the internet, its mainstream use, and access to more information than ever, it’s nearly impossible to spring a “surprise” interview question on someone. Chances are good that every interview question imaginable is discussed somewhere online, with tips and tricks for the interviewee on how to answer all of them.
Candidates spend time researching and preparing for their interviews, which is good because it shows that they are interested in the job. However, it also means you should get creative with how you go about asking your interview questions. Rather than only asking the expected interview questions, look for ones that may be more difficult for the candidate to practice and memorize the perfect response to.
By creating strong interview questions, you ensure that the candidates you are considering for the position are well-suited for the job. To help you with interviewing, we have created this step-by-step guide showing you the ropes of creating the best interview questions.
To get further help, you should consider investing in recruiting software such as Recruiterbox. This software helps the hiring process become a collaborative one within your company so that talent acquisition becomes a much easier and smoother process.
Step-By-Step Guide to Coming Up With the Best Interview Questions
Step 1: Recruit the Best Candidates
Recruiting software can play a big role in determining whether you’re bringing in top talent to your company or people that end up quitting quickly and leaving you with a high turnover rate and constant positions to fill.
The recruiting and interviewing process is not always simple, and sometimes you need help to find success. Thankfully, recruiting software exists to help you streamline the hiring process and find the candidates that will best succeed in their role.
There are plenty of options for recruiting software, but a favorite of ours is Recruiterbox. This software sees you through the entire hiring process. It helps you:
- Come up with a strong pitch that attracts top talent.
- Screen candidates.
- Customize interview workflows so that your whole team is on track with the process.
- Take notes throughout the interview process.
- Keep track of candidates, so you don’t lose track of potential employees.
Recruiterbox offers different plans depending on the size of your company. To get pricing, schedule a call with their team or take advantage of the free demo to determine what plan is right for you.
Step 2: Talk to Employees Currently in the Role
As a hiring manager or HR professional, you have a general idea of what everyone in the company does. However, HR professionals can’t know all the ins and outs of every position in a company. And it is essential to have that information to conduct a great interview.
That’s where current employees come into play. Who better to talk to about the specifics of the job than the person currently in that role? If no one is in the role now, speak with the team and the open position’s direct supervisor. Work with them to get information about the specific job and its needs.
Here are some questions to ask when digging into the position:
- What are the daily responsibilities of this position?
- What knowledge does the person in this role need to have? (Tools, software proficiencies, languages, etc.)
- What soft skills are most important?
- What is the training for this position like?
- Are there other characteristics they need?
- What education level/certification is necessary?
- Does the role manage a team? How many people?
This information is an excellent way for you to develop interview questions specific to the role to determine whether the candidate will fit not only in the company, generally speaking, but in the position specifically.
The information you get also helps when you’re screening resumes and initially narrowing down your candidate list, as you’ll have a much better idea of what the job actually entails.
Step 3: Rely On Behavioral and Situational Interview Questions
Behavioral interview questions show how a candidate deals with various situations. You’ll want both concrete examples of situations they have dealt with in the past and also ones that talk about hypothetical situations they may deal with in the new job. This type of question includes the standard, “Tell me about a time when you dealt with conflict in your job, and how did you handle it?”
Though this is a question likely rehearsed by the candidate since it is such a popular choice for interviews, their response also says a lot about them. Look for someone who answers it with a real dilemma they faced and what the solution looked like.
Situational interview questions pose an opportunity for the candidate to share how he or she would act and respond in the job. “What would you do if ____?” is a popular one that is often asked. This lets you know what you can expect of the candidate when he or she is in a sticky situation.
Step 4: Include a Test Question, If Possible
If it makes sense for the position, see if you can give the candidates a miniature “test” of how they would perform on the job.
For a sales position, you may ask the candidates to create a cold email they would send out to potential buyers. A moderately famous example of this is asking the candidate to “sell” you their pen.
This type of “question” puts a bit of pressure on the candidate and shows their quick problem-solving skills and the extent of their knowledge of the position.
Step 5: Keep It Structured
The interview is only fair if every person has the same opportunities. Therefore, as the interviewer, you need to ask the same questions to each candidate. This allows you to compare answers from one candidate to another.
It also allows you to evaluate each person more directly and make your choice based on whose evaluation shone the brightest. It also helps take bias out of the interview process.
Structure is also important so that you can fit everything into the allotted interview time. You don’t want to go way over time, as it may tell the candidate that you don’t respect their time. Or they may assume that they’ll be stuck in long meetings all the time at the job.
Create an agenda for the interview and prepare your questions ahead of time. Try to stay on task and on time.
Step 6: Create a Rating System
Come up with a rating system or rubric to use for all interviewees. This allows you to rate each candidate on the same criteria so that you can fairly compare them and not go simply based on what you remember.
You may choose to rate each question asked or rate each category of question asked (behavioral, etc.).
Make sure to take notes throughout the interview. Hiring needed employees is not the best time to rely on memory, especially as you may have multiple interviews back to back for various positions.
3 Top Benefits of Coming Up With the Best Interview Questions
How well an employee does as part of your company begins with the interview. Interviews are often your only chance to get to know the employee beyond their resume, so it is a crucial step in the process. Here are three primary benefits of a great interview.
You Learn How the Person Responds in Situations
No company wants an employee who will do nothing but panic when there are issues or complications.
You can get a feel as to whether this is something you’ll have to deal with during the interview. If you want to see how a candidate will respond to a specific situation, ask behavioral and situational questions such as:
- How would you deal with a colleague who takes credit for your work?
- What would you do if a client was yelling at you?
- How would you react if you made a big mistake and a client discovered it?
These are circumstances no one wants to face but are always a possibility. Their responses to these questions show what kind of employee they would be and how they deal with conflict and other issues.
How a person has dealt with conflict in the past says a lot about how they will deal with it in the future. Do your best to make sure that candidates provide responses that feel authentic and not rehearsed to make them sound good.
You Learn About Their Personality
In addition to ensuring that a candidate can fill the position and do the job well, it is also vital to ensure that the candidate will fit your company culture.
You may be thinking, “The job is remote, so company culture doesn’t matter.” If that is the case, know that company culture is just as important when working from home as it is when working from an office.
Keeping that “team spirit” is more of a challenge when everyone is working from different locations, but it is still crucial to keep that idea of a team alive.
Thus, it is important to get a feel for the candidate’s personality to see if it fits the personalities of your current employees. To succeed together, your employees need to be able to work together.
You can use interview questions to gauge how they respond to situations, deal with people, how they work, and get a feel for who they are.
It Makes The Hiring Process Easier
By taking the time to create the right questions that have a specific purpose, you make hiring much easier. This, in turn, can make the hiring process more successful, as you find a system that brings top-notch candidates to your company.
No hiring manager or HR professional wants to deal with the repercussions of hiring the wrong candidate. So, spending the time to get your interview questions right helps to keep this from happening.
3 Biggest Challenges With Coming Up With the Best Interview Questions & How To Troubleshoot Them
Coming up with interview questions that lead to success for you, your company, and the candidate is not easy. It involves intentional planning to land at the questions and the process that works best.
To help you with this, here are three of the most common challenges you may run into during this process and what to do about them.
Creating Questions that Are Not Easy to Practice
If you work for a major company, candidates can find many of your interview questions online. This means that candidates can take the time to rehearse the best responses. Whether they are truthful or not, they may just be what they think you want to hear.
And that can be a huge problem. You want your candidate to answer every question honestly, even if it means they don’t get hired for the position because that determines whether they are a proper fit for the job or not.
Get rid of overused questions, such as asking about strengths and weaknesses, asking why they are the best fit for the job, and others you’ve heard a thousand times. Instead, get creative and find ways to gather the same information from different questions.
Your Team Not Working Together on Interviews
Typically, interviews and hiring are not done by just one person. While it is great to have the input of multiple people, things can get confusing and messy when there are too many cooks in the kitchen.
That’s where recruiting software such as Recruiterbox swoops in to save the day.
First, Recruiterbox makes scheduling interviews an easy process. The software shows team members’ and candidate schedules to find a convenient time for all parties involved without the need for a ton of back-and-forth.
You can also send candidates interview requests via the software, and once it is accepted, the event is automatically placed on everyone’s Google, Outlook, or other external calendars.
It is difficult not to insert some sort of bias when interviewing. However, as you can imagine, this bias can be an issue for fair hiring.
To avoid bias as much as possible, stick to predetermined questions and a rating system. This ensures a level playing field for everyone: the questions are the same for everyone, and a specific method of rating determines the score.
Other Options For Coming Up With the Best Interview Questions
Though we highlighted Recruiterbox in this article, that does not mean it is the only (or even the right) recruiting software available for your company to use in the hiring process.
Several other great options may be a better fit for your company, depending on its specific needs.
If your company is looking to hire from the best talent pool possible consistently, then the ClearCompany talent management system may be the right software for you. It gives you access to hiring tools, interview guides, offer letter management, texting tools, interview scheduling, and much more.
If you are looking to find top-notch candidates through quick job board postings, LinkedIn RSC, request referrals, third-party talent pool providers, and more, consider implementing JazzHR into your hiring process.
These are just a couple of the many options available for recruiting software. To make the choice that is best for your company, check out our guide to the top 5 best recruiting software in 2021.
- ClearCompany – Best for talent management
- JazzHR – Best for high-quality candidate sourcing
- BambooHR – Best applicant tracking system
- Recruiterbox – Best for collaborative hiring
- Recooty – Best free recruiting software