Merchant Capital

The Seven Questions You Need To Ask When Conducting An HR Interview

As a business owner you probably wear many hats, including an HR one. This is a key role actually, as the decisions you make in this role result in who gets hired into your business. So what are the key questions you should be asking your potential employees? We’re rounded up the top seven big ones to help you navigate these important interactions.

1. What do you know about our company and what makes you want to work here?

Now it may seem obvious that a potential employee would do their research on your company before they arrive for an interview. But you’d be surprised to hear that this is not always the case. By asking this question up front, you will gain quick insight into the intentions and passion of your potential employee. This understanding of their personality is vital because you need your employees to be passionate about your business, and if they weren’t motivated enough to run a simple Google search, then you may not want them in your business long term.

2. What are the unique skills and insights you can bring to this position?

This question will help you understand if the interviewee blindly applied for the position. If this is the case initially, then this question will really help the candidate think critically about the job spec and figure out (in real time) how their knowledge or skills will help them contribute to your productivity. It also gives you an opportunity to understand how this person thinks on their feet in the face of tough questions.

3. Why have you decided to leave your current job?

This question will help you understand what the candidate’s current frustrations and ambitions are. If you see that your business can offer good alternatives to the things that have caused them to seek work elsewhere, this is a good time to highlight them. As you listen, also flag unrealistic expectations from the get-go.

Interview questions

4. Tell me about a favourite project you were involved in?

This is a good question to ask because you can get a sense of where and how this applicant loves to work. Is this something you can offer the person in your business or in this specific role? It is vital that this candidate’s personality aligns with the job spec. For example you wouldn’t really want to put a hands-on Creative into an admin role. Ensuring that employees find their work satisfying is an important part of staff retention and therefore a key component of the interview process as well.

5. Can you tell me about a work or school incident where you messed up?

While this one may put them on the spot, it’s a really important question in order to understand their character and whether they own their actions. Their response to your question will help you understand if the person is able to learn from their mistakes and how they strive to improve.

6. Can you remember a time when you had a conflict with a co-worker? How did you deal with it?

No matter the size of your business, there is bound to be conflict at some point down the line. It may help to understand how this potential employee positions themselves in moments of conflict. This will give you a better sense of how they may fit into your culture and team. The candidate would need to tread very carefully with this answer though, as a trivial answer that shows them up, could negatively influence your decision. So if you ask this question, be prepared for what answers come.

7. How would your current manager describe you?

This is a nice way of asking the applicant about their productivity without doing it directly. It also provides them with an opportunity to reflect on past performance through the eyes of someone else. The ideal response to this question might vary depending on your company’s ideal interactions at various departmental levels.

The bottom line

Finding the right staff, often requires asking the right questions. Good interview questions strike a balance between the administrative task of vetting for skills, and generating useful conversation that will help you to better understand the candidate beyond the CV. So keep these seven questions handy, and you will be well on your way to populating your business with the right kind of people.

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