Do you hate having to perform job interviews? They usually fall at the end of your busy day; maybe you’re tired, frustrated at the annoyance of having to replace an employee or fill a new position, or you just don’t feel confident as an interviewer. You’re not alone!
They key to holding a productive interview and hiring the right candidate is to ask the right questions (this is a Coach telling you this – the Queen of Questions – so listen up!). Apart from the usual pertinent questions about skill and experience, there are five critical questions that often don’t get asked. Not surprisingly, they are also the questions that can produce the most commonly flubbed answers! That’s because the questions and how they are answered are so important. If a potential employee doesn’t answer these five questions satisfactorily, reconsider whether or not they are good candidates for the job….
Question #1 – Why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself?
As an employer, you are looking for a succinct synopsis of a candidate’s career to date – not details of their kids, hobbies or their dog named Boo. A keen applicant will tell you how many years of experience they have, what their education, areas of expertise and last position entailed. If you get the cocktail party version of their life, they are not focused on your business.
Question #2 – Why do you want to work here?
An applicant might feel that this question is about their desires. It’s not. This question is about how well they have done their homework. What do they know about your practice? What stands out for them? Are there shared values? Remember….the question is not “Why do you want to work?”, it is “Why do you want to work here?” As an employer, you are looking for passion and excitement. You want to know what it about you that stands out for your applicant.
Question #3 – Why should I hire you?
Potential employees might freeze up at this one, because the question is so often misunderstood. They may choose this time to roll out their list of skills and qualifications. Take heed – this question is about what value this person will bring to your practice, what benefit you will realize by hiring them. An excellent answer is one which indicates what difference this person will make to your work, not a rehash of their skills.
Question #4 – Why did you leave your last job?
You are not prying by asking this question; rather, you are trying to determine fit. What will this person find in your employ that they did not get in their last job? You are looking for honesty without a long, drawn out explanation. Watch body language and facial expressions. The best answer is a truthful, succinct matter of fact answer that doesn’t disclose every little detail. This applies whether they quit or were fired.
Question #5 – What are your weaknesses? What areas need development?
This a tough question, because none of us likes to admit our weaknesses. An intelligent, thoughtful interviewee will have prepared him or herself for this question. They will have made the distinction between a weakness and an over-used strength and will focus on the over-used strength (immersing themselves in work, being an over-achiever, being too much of an organizer, etc.). Hear the difference?
As far as areas of development, your keen interviewer’s ear should be listening for willingness to learn (I’m interested in upgrading my skills and would like to take an implant course, or ortho-module, or business skills training, for front desk staff).
In summary, by all means ask all the usual questions. Watch and listen for honesty and authenticity. Add these five questions to the interview and understand why you are asking them. Listen for the good, strong answers you seek; it will ensure that you choose the strongest, most valuable candidate for the job.