Recruiters, coach your clients on candidate interviews. The trends over the years have bounced back and forth from employers asking really quirky questions that had little to do with job performance to full-on behavioral interviewing with little to no time for the personal aspect of a candidate. Likely, somewhere in the middle is a good place to land. Recruitment best practices have long had a mix of job, skill, performance and personal aspects of the candidate in the mix. Help your clients add back the personal aspect without creating risk to themselves or the company.
Obviously clients need to get the technical skills questions into their process. Lots of questions may be needed to drill down into skills. But to balance and gain the best picture of a candidate, they will need to get a little personal. Asking about things off the tracks of clearly defined job attributes can be tricky. Do not let interviews get into goofy questions about favorite rock bands and most enjoyable lunchtime sandwiches; this is risky. It is, however, critical to ask a question or two about the candidate as a human, a real live person.
Preparing and coaching your clients to ask a handful of open-ended questions about work ethic, stress management, strengths, and weaknesses can them see the full picture of your candidate, beyond their technical skills, experience, and abilities. The response can help identify if the candidate will fit into the company’s culture, is up to the position-specific challenges, and is really motivated by the opportunity.
The tested and true “tell me a bit about yourself” is one of the most commonly asked open-ended questions that can deliver some personal feedback on candidates. Before jumping into the deep end, suggest that the candidate interviewer offer some “personal” insight on the company…what motivates the hiring manager, the CEO’s career path, the latest celebrations the company has had for success. Then ease into a personal question or two.
Some examples that can keep candidate interviews away from protected and non-job-related topics are:
- What motivates you?
- Do you find it easy to make friends?
- Do you find yourself leading or taking a back seat in group functions?
- What are some stress relievers you rely on at work?
- What kinds of decisions, if any, do you find are difficult to make?
- Is there a common theme in the feedback you get from co-workers and supervisors?
- What is you proudest personal or professional moment?
- Do you work after hours or on weekends?
Maybe personal questions could be saved for the top 3 candidates rather than everyone that gets interviewed. Part of the digging deeper when searching for top talent. Make sure candidate interviews do not include questions about illegal topics like sexual identity, religion, family size and plans. If someone offers insight on topics you have not initiated, be engaged. You can use personal interview questions as a bridge to a more personal feel to the interview, but don’t probe into areas that are off limits.
Coaching is required. Employers should have best practices and even scripts to help the candidate interviewer do this with ease. Good luck!