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Asking the right questions

  • Published in Interviews

Professional interviewers ask good questions and then take note of the answers – and if you ask good questions, you get revealing answers.

 

There are all the usual questions to fill in any employment gaps from the CV, expand on skills and knowledge matches and exploring candidates’ ability to respond to problems intelligently.  But there are just three questions that can tell you whether the candidate is really good match for your vacancy.

As a recruiter I find these are really effective – and no, I didn’t invent them!  I borrowed them from John Younger, the CEO of Accolo (a company specialising in online recruitment).  He’s done the time – having interviewed thousands of candidates – so he’s honed them to perfection.

The magic questions

These three questions should be asked about each of the candidates’ previous roles – at least the roles covering the past 5-10 years.

  • How did you find out about the job?
  • What did you like about the job before you started?
  • Why did you leave?

There’s no need to make any other comment or offer guidance, just sit back and listen to the answers.

Question 1:

Most people start their careers by finding jobs through online sites or agencies, but after finding three or more jobs this way, people should have built those critical relationships that get them head-hunted or offered work by former colleagues.

If a candidate has never been approached by someone it says that they’ve never built strong relationships with colleagues and don’t have either sufficient competence or trust to be on recruitment hit lists.

Question 2:

Look for passion!  If someone has had a series of jobs and doesn’t show any strong reason for choosing it – other than a bigger salary, grander title or better perks – then you’re just another stop along the way; don’t expect long term commitment.

Question 3:

Better opportunities or bigger salaries are common, but when a pattern emerges of conflict with colleagues or management, it’s time to see a red light.  Some people don’t realise that they’re the problem – not everyone else!

The answers to the questions, received without comment will reveal much more than any candidate might realise and are a valuable barometer of the kind of employee they’re likely to be.

We interview all our candidates before they’re sent for interviews with clients – technical staff are fully tested too, that means that our clients interview far fewer people, with much higher matches.  Call us on 020 3762 2020 to improve the quality of your staff.