Part 2: Crafting the perfect job interview

Good interview questions ask for real solutions. (Rawpixel.com pic)

A job interview is a formal conversation between an employer and a candidate in which the recruiter or hiring manager assesses whether the candidate has the qualifications necessary to perform the role.

Here is part 2 on how to craft the perfect job interview:

Questions and answers

The questions you ask each candidate will depend largely on the role itself. Interviews are a useful tool to build a relationship with candidates after their skills have been validated.

Use your interview questions to fill in any blanks remaining from the hiring process.

Characteristics of good questions

Good interview questions ask for real solutions. They are behavioural and situational in nature, meaning you ask a candidate how they would respond to a specific scenario.

Good interview questions are forward-thinking, open-ended, and about a person’s actions:

  • Why are you excited about joining our company?
  • What does this opportunity mean to you?
  • If you join our company, how can we invest in you?
  • What do you think of the people you’ve spoken to at our company so far?
  • Do you have any feedback on our product?
  • When I call your references, what are they going to say?
  • What would make you leave our organization?

Another option is to give the interviewee a problem your team struggles with, and ask how they would approach it.

The goal isn’t to stump your candidate: keep it open-ended and give your candidates a chance to show their talent.

Characteristics of bad questions

There are a significant number of bad interview questions that aren’t predictive. These questions don’t allow candidates to provide information beyond their resume or application.

All they do is test whether a candidate has prepared a canned answer to common and outdated queries:

  • Why should we hire you?
  • What’s your greatest weakness?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Tell me about a time when you failed.
  • Among the people you’ve worked with, who do you admire and why?
  • What are your superpowers?
  • If we don’t hire you, what do you think the reason will be?
  • In five minutes, explain something that is complicated but that you know well.
  • When was the last time that you changed your mind about something important?
A well prepared candidate would have done their homework on your company. (Rawpixel.com pic)

It’s also best to avoid asking questions that are related to a candidate’s:

  • Age
  • Race, ethnicity, or colour
  • Gender or sex
  • Country of national origin or birthplace
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Marital or family status or pregnancy

Focus on asking behavioural questions to find the best fit for your organization.

Characteristics of good answers

There are a few things to keep in mind in assessing a candidate’s interview performance. First, competence is context-dependent.

When assessing a candidate’s answers, you must keep their previous experience and context in mind.

Secondly, job interviews are stressful. A job interview is a high-pressure situation that can cause some candidates to slip up.

Forgive mistakes that will have no real impact on their role as an employee as much as possible.

The best interview answers share some common characteristics:

  • Use specific examples
  • Focus on the job for which they are interviewing
  • Are direct and to the point
  • Are self-aware
  • Are open and honest
  • Show some awareness of the company to which you are applying

Good interview answers are succinct, use anecdotes and details from past work experience, and show that the candidate has done their homework on the role and the company.

Characteristics of bad answers

Bad interview answers are those that are ambiguous or lazy. Don’t speak ill of past employers or bash anyone in answering questions about why you left a job.

Vague interview answers are also bad: talk about skills you have using specific examples.

Lastly, be honest in your answers. It’s a known fact that candidates are never 100% honest in their interview answers.

Do your best to answer questions with self-awareness and transparency. .

Benefits of video interviewing

Video interviewing is when a candidate answers questions about their background and experience either on live video with a recruiter or via a pre-recorded video.

Video interviews shorten time-to-hire and help recruiters broaden their candidate pipeline, allowing remote candidates to make it further in the hiring process.

Candidates don’t have to take time off work to attend in-person interviews. They can respond at the time and place of their choosing.

Video interviews provide a good opportunity to sell the job. Include a video of the hiring manager talking about your company or their future job to manage the expectations of your candidates.

This article first appeared in vervoe.com.

At Vervoe, our mission is to fundamentally transform the hiring process from mediocracy to meritocracy.