As an employer and interviewer, it can be difficult to sort out the good candidates from the less qualified ones. When you conduct interviews, make sure that you ask the appropriate questions, so the candidate you pick is not only professional and career oriented but also has goals and healthy interests outside the office.
One of the first questions to ask as an employer should lead you to learn more about who that person is. Ask the candidate to tell you about himself, his education choices, his background and heritage. Each person has a different story, so ask to hear his.
Ask the candidate why she chose this specific career or industry. For example, if the candidate is interviewing for a legal secretary position, ask about her interest in law and her interest in the position. You can easily determine from her answers if the candidate is pursuing law because it is a passion or is simply interviewing to get a job for the money.
Ask about the candidate’s life goals. Goals can include work or career goals, as well as personal goals. If the candidate’s goal is to work effectively as part of a law firm team, you may have a good candidate. If, on the other hand, the candidate’s goals include working from home or being a stay-at-home dad, the candidate may not be the one you are looking for.
Interests Outside of Work
While some employers want their employees to have healthy lifestyles and hobbies outside of work, others do not care so long as the work gets done. Candidates enjoy talking about themselves, so ask about their hobbies and interests outside of work. Use the answers to get to know the candidate better.
Ask a question pertaining to the candidate’s choice and level of education. For example, if the candidate is being interviewed for a secretary position but has a degree in English literature, ask her how the education and skills learned will help her perform in the position.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Two questions that are common during interviews pertain to the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. While the candidate may easily identify his strengths, weaknesses may be more of a challenge, as the candidate does not want the weaknesses to take over and become the reason why he does not get the job offer.
Two more questions you should ask a candidate deal with previous job experiences. Ask the candidate about the responsibilities or tasks in previous jobs. Then question her about personal enjoyment of the job. While the candidate may have been good at the job, her answers will show if she did not enjoy the job. This can be damaging, especially if the candidate works directly with customers.
The last question you should ask a candidate is why you should hire him. This is the selling point of the interview, as the candidate must explain why he thinks he is qualified for the job.
Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.