There are many articles to help candidates optimize their job application: how to create the best CV or cover letter, how to prepare for a virtual assessment centre, how to answer behavioral questions, and so on. But sometimes we tend to forget, that interviews can be stressful for both parties. I personally never realized how hard it is to do interviews until I had to choose our next digital marketing colleague from 160+ CVs. Wasn’t easy, I have to say.
One of our biggest pain was that we weren’t sure what to ask, should we go more for technical questions? Or about personality? And if so, what kind of questions should we come up with, to also spark curiosity in the candidate? So that’s why I decided it could be a great help to have a list of interview questions to ask for you can choose from. Nothing too fancy, nothing boring – exactly the right set of questions we received from our Senior Recruiter Consultants!
Brand your company
The #1 tip we give you is that before you conduct the interview with a potential candidate, you should be prepared to brand your own company! Good and comprehensive employer branding is crucial nowadays. You are competing for promising talents, so the candidates have to know your brand is the best one out there!
Keep in mind what benefits your company has to offer, and how to present them in a convincing way. Some of those could be fringe benefits, informal events, team building, training courses, flexibility (home office, flexible working hours), good work-life balance, office location, free parking lot, dog-friendly environment, traveling opportunities, shared values, and so on. Just imagine yourself in the applicants’ shoes: what would convince you? Is it a kick-ass office? Or growth opportunities because of the latest successful funding round? Choose 2-3 of these and either present them at the end of the interview or try to include them in your interview questions asks (“What are the values you are looking for in a company?”, “What would be your dream office”?).
Create a candidate profile
Our tip #2 is to have a clear idea of the ideal applicant you want to win over. Do they have to have appropriate work experience or a thirst to learn? Are our years of experience more important than convincing skills? Do you prefer a list of interesting hobbies or the design of the CV? First, this might seem confusing, but the more you meet new faces, the more sophisticated your expectations will be. Here are some skills worth examining:
- communication, teamwork, commitment, analytical and problem-solving skills, integrity, flexibility, adaptability, self-motivation, technical literacy, decision-making, time management, interpersonal skills, and a positive attitude.
The list of interview questions
And now let’s talk about the questions! Preparation is needed if you want to win over the best candidates. You would be surprised, how many times candidates reject because they found other offers or other companies seemed more appealing… It also makes sense to keep track of your interviews: how your candidates answered, how it shaped the overall profile, and what they revealed!
- Tell me a little about yourself!
- What describes you best?
- How do you think your friends see you?
- What are the channels you read / watch / listen to, in order to stay professionally updated?
- What are the two most important things for you in a job?
- What qualities do you think define a good colleague/boss?
Company related questions
- Why our company?
- What do you know about our company?
- Why this job? What was appealing?
- What makes you want to work for us in particular?
- How do you think you can contribute to the company’s success?
- Guide me through your CV!
- Highlight one experience you want to share more in detail!
- What is your accomplishment in ‹this› role you’re most proud of?
- What was your unique contribution to ‹this› project?
- Which job was the most challenging and why?
- Was there any job that you regretted? If yes, why?
- Describe a situation where you weren’t satisfied with your job. What would have solved the frustration?
- Describe a situation where you saw a problem and took steps to fix it.
- Tell me about a time your workload was very heavy. What did you do to mitigate it?
- Describe a situation where you needed information from a co-worker who was slow to respond. What did you do?
- What was the biggest mistake you made, and how did you try to fix it?
- One day you accidentally find a lottery ticket and you end up winning $10 million. What would you do with the money?
- Which trait of yours was the most present already in your childhood?
- In which historical era would you prefer the most to live in?
- Who is your hero and why?
- If you could meet one famous person, who would it be and why?
- Which animal would you compare yourself with and why?
Next steps after the interview questions
After the interview questions, explain the position’s duties & responsibilities and back them up with real-life examples so you can provide the candidate with a clear picture of the position. Why is it important? Because it can happen, that you hire the candidate and it turned out that he/she had different expectations about the role. Like that, the whole hiring and onboarding process went in vain, not to mention that you have to start all over again… not a pleasant experience!
Wrap up the whole process by asking the candidates whether they have any further questions. Some of them might take you by surprise: in this article, we collected 15 questions that we recommend candidates ask after the interview. Why not prepare for them in advance?!
Also explain the follow-up procedure, meaning how many more stages could come after the interview, whether there going to be reference calls, and what’s the start date would be.
Now you know what are the steps you have to take and things to consider:
- Learn how to brand your company
- Create your ideal candidate profile
- Ask questions in categories, for a more interesting and memorable interview
- and don’t forget all the steps after the interview: follow up with the candidates!
Now obviously you don’t have to use the structure and all the questions mentioned above. You can mix and match or decide to talk about fewer answers and elaborate on them more in detail. The sky is the limit! The process ought to be customized to your needs and what you want to explore during the interview.