Discover more from All Remote - with Mark Wormgoor
Hiring the right candidate (2)
What questions to ask in an interview?
Interviewing and hiring is hard. Last week, we talked about the STAR(s) framework to structure your interview. Knowing the right techniques is a good start, but you only have limited time. Interviews are usually an hour, a little more if you take the time. How do you prioritize your questions?
Do you want your team to be the best? Not just every individual member, but also how they work together as a team, and how they work with you? If an interview is done well, you’ll have a pretty good idea whether someone will fit into your organization and into the team.
Over the years, I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews and hired dozens of consultants, employees and contractors. I’ve had feedback from some amazing HR people and recruiters I interviewed with. I’ve added and removed to get to the list I now use.
This is the second of a series talking about interviewing and hiring. Read the first episode here:
Before you start hiring, even before you start writing the job text, decide what you need. First, of course you need to consider their content expertise, as well as their leadership experience if you’re hiring for a leadership role. In this article, we’re going to focus on personality and soft skills instead. I’ll always look for a combination of these three: match with our company values, a couple of must-have criteria and will they complement the team.
Company Values: it’s key to understand how someone responds to your company values, and if they value them. Prepare a question for each of the company values you want to interview for. One of my personal core values is “Respect”. The question I would ask in an interview is: “Can you give me an example of a situation where you, or one of your co-workers was treated disrespectfully”. Then use the STAR(s) framework to inquire how they responded, and what they learned from that situation.
Must-haves: there are three must-haves that I will always ask about. These are potential red flags for me. What are yours?
Preparation: I always ask why they want to work for my organization. Let’s hope they have a nice textbook answer, but that’s not why I ask. My reason for asking this question is to see if they’ve prepared the interview. Have they read up about the organization? Have they given their application enough thought? If they’re not going to prepare for an interview for a place where they plan to spend 40 hours per week, how will they prepare meetings and activities in their work?
Work-load: it’s unfortunately a fact of life that in our jobs, there’s always more work than we can take on. Dealing with that means prioritizing, saying no and making choices. I really like to know how people do this.
Conflict: in a workplace, there’s as many opinions as there are people. Differing opinions leads to argumentation and potentially to conflict. Argumentation and even conflict are healthy for an organization, as long as they focus on content (and not the person). I always ask about a conflict people have had in their past work, and how they dealt with the situation. Avoiding conflict, or having personal conflicts are potential red flags, depending on what happened of course.
Team Composition: a strong team needs diversity. Diversity takes many forms. Easily visible are age, gender or racial background. It’s equally important to have a mix of personalities - having a healthy mix of extraverts and introverts and a healthy mix of DiSC profiles. Personally, I’m an introvert with a “D”ominance profile. I will always look for at least some extraverted people on my team, as well as some of the other DiSC profiles.
When you know what’s important in the role you’re hiring for, and you prepare the interview with the right set of questions to ask, you’re significantly improving your chances of success!
When preparing an interview, know what you’re looking for. What kind of personality will complement the team? What values are important? What are your must-haves? Prepare questions to ask about each of them. If you’ve tried the framework, let me know how it went!
In my next story, I’m going into skills a bit more. How do you probe for all the right skills? If you haven’t already, subscribe below to receive it!