5 Easy Ways to Design Great Interview Questions

Recently, a small business owner shared her concerns about hiring great employees. She needed to hire the right people soon or she would have to close her business. That statement is painful to hear because hiring great people is possible with a few simple tweaks to your hiring process. One of those tweaks is asking Insightful Interview questions. And it is the most powerful tool you have to ensure you hire the right people for your organization.

Getting your interview questions answered in a way that provides trust and confidence that you are learning the truth about your applicants is critical to hiring success. Knowing who a candidate really is and how they will perform on the job is also important. You want to get a true picture of who they are. Therefore, the interview questions you ask must be strategically designed to give you that information. Crafting Insightful Interview™ questions is an art form anyone can learn.

Many hiring managers use questions they find on the Internet. The problem is your candidates have also found the same questions and researched the “right” answer.

Let’s go back to those interview questions you found on the Internet. It’s okay to use them. However, you do need to give them a makeover that keeps them fresh and relevant to your business.

Here are five tips to help you design Insightful Interview™ questions.

1.    Make sure your interview question is one you can legally ask in an interview. 

According to a 2015 CareerBuilder survey, one in five employers asks an illegal interview question.

2.    Make sure you understand what you want to learn from the candidate’s answer.

Asking a question because you found it on a list of great questions to ask candidates fails to give you the information that you need to make a decision. Your questions need to have a purpose, and that purpose is to discover how the candidate will perform in your organization.

3.    Define what a right answer looks like and what a wrong answer looks like. 

Interviewers often ask questions without knowing how to decide if the answer is a good one. Take some time to define both good and bad answers. Refer to the competency example here.

4.    Watch facial expressions, the tone of voice, word choice, and body language. 

An answer to an interview question is more than the words spoken. Communication has many aspects and you want to consider all of them.

5.    Look beyond the words to determine their meaning. 

Words mean different things to different people. Use follow-up questions to make sure you understand what your candidate means. Assuming the candidate shares your definition can be a mistake.

This sounds hard, and yet with a little advance thought and some practice, anyone can master the art of asking Insightful Interview™ questions.

Here’s an example:

Standard Interview Question: Tell me about your greatest achievement at work.

Standard Response: I had a big project due for an important client and [insert problems] and I worked as long as it took to get the job done. It was hard work and long hours and in the end the client was happy.

Sound familiar? Did you learn anything from the answer? Probably not. Your goal with this question was to find out what your candidate values and feels is important, and what motivates him or her. Unfortunately, answers to this question usually lack substance.

Fixing this problem is easy! Here’s a makeover that makes this an Insightful InterviewÔ question:

Insightful Interview™ Question: Could you describe a situation when you were faced with a problem that required innovative thinking?

This is a more powerful question. It sends a signal to your candidate that you want depth and substance. It’s hard for a candidate to bluff their way through a question like this. They have to dig deep. Because of that, make sure you give them a moment or two. Most candidates rarely get a question this good, and they need time to process the question and then answer.

See, that was pretty easy. With a little practice and some strategic thinking, you can become an Insightful Interview™ question pro in no time at all. Click here to get my favorite interview question.

It’s your turn now to take the first step.

If you still have some work to do, no worries. The important thing is you are ready to learn. Reach out to your Inspiring HR consultant for help.

You may also want to grab a copy of The YOLO Principle: The Ultimate Hiring Guide for Small Business, available on Amazon. This book is packed with tools, templates, and step-by-step instructions.




One thought on “5 Easy Ways to Design Great Interview Questions”

Comments are closed.