Unlocking the potential of your future team members begins with the questions you ask at interview; this is a guide on creating the best interview questions that will help you find the perfect fit for your business. 
Prior to the interview, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of what you want to learn about the candidate. We believe that there are four key areas to consider when matching a candidate successfully to your role: 
1 – What skills and experience do they have which will transfer to your workplace: 
A great starting point for interviews is to ask candidates to talk you through their job history. This approach allows candidates to comfortably discuss a subject they are well-acquainted with – themselves. It's an effective way to ease them into the interview. Focus on the relevant aspects of their job history, typically the last 10 years or the period post-COVID, given the significant changes in work dynamics since the pandemic. 
• Identifying Gaps: Examine their CV for any employment gaps and delve into these gaps as most of them should have reasonable explanations. 
• Reasons for Leaving: Inquire about the reasons for leaving each job and be attentive to recurring patterns or trends. For example, if they mention leaving due to conflicts with managers, this might raise concerns about team compatibility. 
• Job Progression and Tenure: Investigate their job progression and how long they typically stay in each position. Do they tend to switch jobs every 18 months, or do they have longer tenures? This behaviour often carries over into future employments. Ask questions like “How long do you envision yourself in this role?” and “What accomplishments do you aspire to achieve in this position for it to be considered successful?” 
• Addressing Skill Variance: In instances where the candidate's experience differs from the requirements of your role, ask questions like “What were your day-to-day responsibilities in your previous role?” and “What do you consider to be the most critical aspects of the role?” 
Ultimately, your goal is to assess whether they have the essential experience for the position and what aspects are trainable to make them a successful candidate. 
2 – Competency-based questions: 
Competency-based questions revolve around specific skills or competencies that are important for the job in question. Common competencies include communication, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, adaptability, customer service. Here's how to approach competency-based questions: 
• Identifying Key Competencies: Before the interview, you should identify the key competencies that are important for success of the role. For example, if leadership is vital, they may focus on competencies like leadership, decision-making, and conflict resolution. This enables objective comparison between candidates. 
• Crafting Questions: You should then craft questions that require candidates to provide examples of their past experiences and behaviours related to these competencies. These questions are often structured in a way that begins with phrases like: 
"Tell me about a time when..." 
"Give me an example of..." 
"Describe a situation where..." 
Conclude this section by asking “What did you learn?” and “How have you since applied this learning?” Mistakes are acceptable, but it's essential to understand how they grow from them. 
3 – What they know about you and the role: 
“What do you know about this role and company?” 
You are looking for someone who knows about the role they're applying for and your company. A candidate that has done their research shows that they have spent some time investing in your organisation, meaning they are more likely to stay committed to the recruitment process and, consequently, have better retention if hired. 
4 – Candidate Values: 
Lastly, explore the candidate's values, which are especially important in the SME market. Ensure alignment with your company values: 
• What motivates you? 
• What are you looking for in your next boss? 
• What values guide your life? 
• What are your sources of workplace energy, and what drains you? 
Reflect on how their answers align with your company values. 
In summary, crafting effective interview questions is essential to finding the right candidate for your business. Assess their knowledge, transferable skills, values, and compatibility with your company culture. Tailor your questions to uncover these crucial aspects. 
If you're looking for more in-depth information on competency-based questions or wish to discuss any of the above points, feel free to contact Emerald Starfish at 0116 2080246. 
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