Good questions for great recruitment screenings

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Managers are facing many new realities in recruiting the best people to their team. A large share of the process to attract and screen candidates takes place in the digital domain. Businesses are changing faster than ever and part of the change is to recruit for completely new roles.

Interview processes have at least two stages. Peer reviews can be as important as the interview with the hiring manager. A portfolio of key questions is a great support for getting the initial screening right.

Interpretation of the role at hand

An anchor point for a successful recruitment is a well-defined role and a matching candidate. As an interviewer in the first round you want to understand how well the pre-screening has worked.

By asking the candidate how they interpret the role you can find interesting perspectives. How well do they understand the role? Have they paid attention to details in the role definition? Is this the role that trigger their interest, or do they see this as an entry point to what they want?

You want someone who understands the role well enough to be both capable and excited.

Mapping of Curriculum Vitae / Resume experiences to new role

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) today is evolving throughout your career and available on LinkedIn.  Expect to see well-polished articulations of accomplishments.  Your role as a hiring  manager is to dig behind the cover.

The most valuable part of a candidate conversation is about how the CV/Resume relates to the future and specifics.

Which part of the CV relates to your biggest professional successes? You want to find winners. Which experiences in your CV are essential for the role at hand? You want strong capabilities to build from. Which of the bold written statements can be told face-to-face? Many wordings on a CV can come across in interviewes as exaggerations. Which gaps do you need to close fast? You want candidates with a good self-insight and aspiration to grow.

Don’t be satisfied with just a desk check of the CV.

5-year ambition

You recruit to fill a gap now and potential to develop further. An important part of the potential for a given candidate is tied to their ambition. Candidates with a clear 5-year agenda have high ambitions for their personal development.

A conversation with a 5-year horizon can cover a variety of angles. In which fields do you see yourself working? Signaling focus or desire to move around? What are your management aspirations? You want to identify strong individual contributors as well as management and leadership talent. How far do you want to go and grow? You want to know if a candidate is at or below potential. What is driving your aspirations around sales and client facing roles? You want to see if the drive is by desire or perceived value on CV.

Your best candidates have clear and tangible potential in a 5 year perspective.

Your best friend’s opinion

In a professional role you get to know and use a fraction of a candidate’s capabilities. Perhaps as little as 60 degrees of a complete circle of what they can do. In a world that requires more diverse capabilities in your team you need to look outside the obvious. Look for matches with the role description outside the CV too. .

By asking candidates about their best friend’s opinion you can find honest personality opinions. This is a question that is hard to rehearse and tend to bring out honest opinions. What would your best friend say about you if used as a reference? Your candidate’s best friends know him/her best. What are the difference between your professional image and your private profile? If these two worlds are too far apart you might only be able to leverage the professional one.

You look for candidates where professional and private capabilities support each other. The mix add largest value add to your team.

Your candidates question for you

Always leave time open at the end for questions to you. The type of questions a candidate ask can tell you as much as their answers to your questions.

Questions for further clarifications of the role signal interest to prepare better. Questions on qualification criteria and selection process signals the candidate push to get selected. Questions on compensation packages and “what is in it for me” at this stage are early warning signals.

Questions to you as an interviewer

  1. Do you use standard questions in interviews to allow me to compare candidates – assume to screen multiple candidates, often together with peers.
  2. Do you use different questions depending for the initial screening reviews versus later approval reviews – two types of interviews with different purposes.
  3. Does your company have a clear process for what you look for at different interview stages – it is hard to hire consistently without common guidelines.
  4. How do you need to take your interview game to the next level for the human capital transformation your company face – don’t expect it to be better than the capabilities of the interviewers.

Additional reading suggestions

One thought on “Good questions for great recruitment screenings

  1. Pingback: How to shape roles to maximize output from each team member | Tweeter Linder

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