Interviewing, and doing it well, is damn hard. It is something that most people (and even most managers & executives) have never been trained how to do well. Becoming a great interviewer will take time and practice, but using these 5 critical questions will make you sound like a seasoned pro.In our world (HubSpot customers and agency partners) we get asked all the time "how the hell do we run a great interview and what should we be asking?". Make sure you hit on ALL 5 of the following questions every time you interview and you will be well positioned to get the info you need from the interview and leave a great impression on your candidate.
Top 5 MOST important interview questions:
1. How are you? How was your weekend?
This hopefully seems like a no brainer to most of you, but we hear time and time again from our candidates that interviewers sat down and launched in rapid fire Q&A sessions. We get it. As the interviewer you have a small amount of time to get a lot of info. DO NOT SKIP THE SMALL TALK. It is so crucial to start an interview in a "human to human" capacity rather than diving right into "possible future employer to candidate" Q&A. Make you candidate feel welcome and comfortable and get them talking. It will make the other 95% of your time together flow and feel much more conversational.
2. What do you love about your work and what is most important to you in your next role?
Again, this might sound basic but it also gets skipped all the time. You need this info. You need to understand what makes this person tick and what they are passionate about. Maybe more importantly, you need to know what they want to do in their next role. How people answer this question will tell you a great deal about how well they fit into your team and the skills / bandwidth gaps you have. If their answer does not line-up well, you have someone who wants to do something other than what you are offering.
3. Tell me about a time when...
Not exactly a full question, but critical none the less. Use experiential interviewing questions. This is very different than asking someone if they have experience with something. Ask your candidates to talk about specific relevant experience that they had to navigate. For example; "tell me about a time that you had a client pushback on your strategy or disagree with your approach". You are going to a substantially more from that questions than you would have from "can you deal with difficult or demanding clients?"
4. How would you handle the following situation...
Again, not exactly phrased as a full question but this type of interview prompt is extremely valuable. Find out how your candidate would handle a specific situation. Situational interviewing is a great way to get insight into your candidate's ability to navigate tricky situations. Make the situation as real world as possible. Ideally, pick something that happened in your business over the previous week or two and find out how they would have handled.
5. Do you have any questions for me?
Another frequently missed but absolutely critical part of the interview. It is so easy to try to jam in as many questions as possible as the interviewer and run out of time. This is a candidate experience killer. Your candidate is interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing them. You need to give at least 10 minutes at the end of any interview for candidate questions. This is your opportunity to help them understand why this opportunity is ideal for them and sell your brand and your culture. Make sure that every candidate you interview leaves that conversation wanting the job.
We do a ton of interview coaching and training as we help our partners scale out their teams...and we love it. Finding someone incredible to interview is just the first part of the journey. How well you do in the interview and how well you sell your company / culture / opportunity will make the difference between an amazing new hire and a declined offer.
- Jason Azocar