job interview, one job candidate, two interviewers, all female, all wearing black clother. They sit in a small room together. How can we tell a good (great) interview questions from a bad one? A good questions should meet the following criteria:

  • It should help us to tell the talkers from the people who really know their job.
  • It should help us to make a decision about the candidate we interview, instead of making us more confused, or creating other questions on our side.
  • We should be able to use the questions with each job candidate.
  • Most candidate should not be prepared for the question in advance, it should be a question they have to answer instinctively.

Most interviews in the world aren’t conducted in a professional manner. Questions repeat from one interview to another, and the HR managers have often no idea why they ask a particular question.

You should pay close attention to your interview template. Waste neither your time, not time of the job candidates with questions that tell you nothing about their suitability for the job.

 

Behavioral questions and case studies

A couple of older HR managers is leading an interview with a young job applicant. We can see their faces, but not the face of the applicant. Behavioral questions, and especially short case studies should belong to each interview template.

Prepare a few scenarios that relate to the job. Give the applicants some information, let them to think, let them to show you how they would handle the task, let them to present the solution.

How does such a case study look like? Here is one we used when looking for a new a recruitment manager:

Case study: Recruit 100 nurses in six months
Description: Your task is to recruit 100 nurses from Great Britain to work in Norway. The nurses need to learn Norwegian language and start the job within six month. The conditions for them in Norway are excellent – twice as much money, one week on and one week off (back home), great benefits, newest equipment.

Describe how would you proceed in the project to achieve the goal in six months. Define the milestones, challenges, and opportunities. You have fifteen minutes to prepare your answer.

 

What makes a case study special?

  • Candidate has probably never solved such a task before
  • They are definitely not prepared for the question
  • The way they answer the question will help you to evaluate both their readiness for the job and their communication skills

Some companies use a little different type of case studies, which is even more tricky for job applicants. For example:

You have two mobile phones and you are in an eleven floor high building. Your task is to find out from which floor the mobile would not break once thrown to ground. How would you proceed?

 

An illustration of an interview. A woman is writing something on a piece of paper, and we can see the keys on the table. A man in blue jacket is pointing to something on a paper.Conclusion

A question is great only when you can interpret the answers of the job candidates, and tell which answer was the best one.

Try to use a variety in your interview template. Mix some screening and behavioral questions, add a few short case studies and technical questions, and complement it with an IQ test (or with a personality test).

The more types of questions you use, the easier it should be for you to make a great hire at the end of the interviews.

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