It is said that an institution is only as strong as its weakest link. An organization’s employees can either secure or compromise the company’s integrity, which is why it is important to hire the best person for the job. The hiring process is so pivotal to an organization’s functioning, that distinct departments like HR have been created to deal exclusively with recruitment and retention. While a candidate’s transcripts and portfolios can tell you a lot about what they’ve achieved, it is the interview process—which is interactive and requires candidates to think on their feet—that definitively determines whether a person is suitable for the job. If you’ve ever wondered about how to hire the right employee, here is a list of job interview questions that can lead you to the right candidate:– a. What do you know about the work we do, and why does it appeal to you? This question can help establish whether the candidate understands your organization’s mission and whether she is able to envision contributing to it. It is a good way to see if both parties’ expectations and work-objectives are aligned, and allows you to gauge just how enthusiastic the candidate is about the job. b. What salary are you looking to make? Asking the candidate this throws the ball in their court, and gives you the room to decide whether your organization is in a position to meet their demands. It also gives you a sense of how your candidate values his or her professional worth. If the figure is absurdly high, it is an indication that the candidate has failed to do their research, or it could mean they have an inflated sense of self-worth. Quoting a figure that’s too low could also suggest that they haven’t done their market research; it could also tell you that they underestimate their own abilities and are hesitant to claim their due. The first type of candidate would be harder to work with than the latter. c. What are your deal breakers? Encourage the interviewee to think back on any of her previous jobs, and ask her to name one negative or unsatisfying factor that drove her to quit. Her answer will give you some insight into the kind of work environment and organizational culture she truly values. If she says something like, “I spent a lot of time working as part of a team—I prefer working alone,” she may or may not be a good match for your organization, depending on how team-centric the work culture is. d. Can you recall an instance of interpersonal conflict at a previous job? How did you handle it? Put more than one person in a room, and the potential for conflict increases exponentially. Conflict is inevitable, but can vary in degree and severity. Some workplaces are notoriously conflict-ridden, and see very high attrition rates. The candidate’s response can help reveal a couple of things about them: what, according to them, counts as conflict and how they tend to resolve it. For example, are they ‘escalators’, ‘sweepers’, or ‘mediators’? Escalators chose extreme courses of action, thus exacerbating the situation; ‘sweepers’ prefer to sweep their problems under the carpet, and quit when they can’t take anymore; mediators, on the other hand, try their best to resolve the conflict through dialogue, instead of exploding in anger or swallowing their unhappiness. e. Do you have any questions for me? This last one might take them by surprise, but the truth is that all interviews are a two-way street. You, the employer, are being interviewed by the candidate. If a candidate is able to come up with intelligent and pertinent questions, this lets you know that have thought deeply about the job opening, and that they are comfortable questioning authority. Asking the right questions can help you identify the right candidate(s) and that in turn can boost the productivity of your organization and the success of your business.
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