Like dating, hiring a new employee can be a stressful but rewarding process. Before you find a perfect match, you may meet tons of qualified people. And like a first date, interviewing is essential to evaluate a candidate’s qualifications and experience. But as you plan your interview strategy, don’t forget about chemistry.
Shall We Dance?
Sound hiring decisions require a grasp of each candidate’s potential fit with your company culture. However, as we all know, it can be hard to address important topics on a first date. Job interviews are no different. Quickly assessing a prospective employee’s personality requires finesse. That’s why skilled recruiters often rely on indirect questions.
In a recent Inc.com article, business writer Jeff Haden compiled a list of entrepreneurs’ favorite interview questions. The entire list is fantastic, but I want to point out three questions that I find exceptionally effective:
1) When have you been most satisfied in your life?
Dick Cross, founder and CEO of investment industry performance advisors, Cross Partnership, asks this question to learn what motivates potential employees to achieve, so he can determine how this matches with opportunities at his company.
Inspired employees make success happen, but inspiring employees takes more than a clear mission or a cool product. People find satisfaction in unique accomplishments or special moments. Your company may not offer the same type of satisfaction or motivation a qualified employee needs to perform at the highest possible level.
2) Who is your role model, and why?
To discover how introspective candidates are, Clara Shih, Hearsay Social co-founder and CEO, asks them to talk about their role models. As a bonus, the answers often reveal core values and career aspirations.
When individuals talk about role models, they naturally describe the qualities they admire and hope to embody. For example, if Ghandi is your role model, it would be difficult to explain why investment banking would be an ideal career path for you. By assessing the merits of others as a benchmark, candidates can more easily assess their own strengths, weaknesses and professional progress.
3) What’s your super power? or What’s your spirit animal?
While super powers and spirit animals seem off-topic for interview sessions, HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes uses this topic to get a hint of candidates’ creativity and self-awareness.
Abstract personality-type questions are an opportunity to demonstrate wit and imagination (and at the very least, tolerance for fanciful questions). Clearly there is no right answer here, but it offers a non-threatening way for candidates to open up. Their delivery and detail can reveal how they see their place in the world, and offers a chance to learn about unique qualities they hope to contribute to an organization.
Does your company interview for culture fit? What questions do you find most revealing?
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