Efficient Interviewing: Asking Questions the Right Way

Of all the pre-hire processes a professional can find themselves having to perform, the interview may be the most difficult to pin down. Many of us have been through interviews that have ranged from cookie-cutter to confusing, and could possibly have ended up hiring a candidate that ultimately wasn’t a good fit.

So what are the “right” questions to ask when qualifying a candidate? Unfortunately no two organizations are exactly alike, so instead of focusing on the specific wording of a question the experts at InfoQuest believe it’s more important to focus on a “funnel” approach to get to the absolute root of who a person is.

What do we mean by “funnel?” It’s really quite simple: ask questions related to prior questions to gain a deeper understanding. Here’s what we mean:

1) Start with an open-ended question related to an actual accomplishment or a hypothetical task.

2) Ask how they did what they did, or how they would do something if the first question was hypothetical.

3) Ask what the result was/would be.

4) Ask if it was/would be their responsibility alone or if it was a team effort.

5) Ask about the challenges, and what the solutions to those challenges were.

Now obviously these are not set in stone, but having a general template of how to guide a conversation can put the interviewer in a position of strength to compare candidate answers apples-to-apples when interviewing multiple people for the opening.

Asking follow-up questions not only digs up the root of someone’s character, but also allows you to observe how they articulate themselves and if they are able to think on their feet. This knowledge can truly separate an average candidate from an all-star, as there are certain qualities you just can’t identify from a resume.

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