Most articles about interview skills focus on job candidates and give them tips to impress employers. But it’s just as important for business owners to work on our interview technique. If we fail to ask the right questions during the interview process, we may end up hiring a candidate who isn’t a good fit for the role. Here are some tips to help you refine your interview and hiring process so you can recruit top talent.
Don’t Rely on Impressions and Feelings
I’m a solopreneur who runs a freelance writing business, so I’ve never hired an employee. But I have outsourced tasks to other freelancers and interviewed potential candidates. Unfortunately, I’ve made the mistake of basing a hiring decision off of my first impression and feelings, and I definitely paid for it.
When I was looking for a website designer, I went with the person I had great rapport with instead of the most experienced candidate. One of my websites ended up being delivered months late and the other was poorly designed. If I had paid more attention to each web designer’s portfolio and skillset, I probably would’ve chosen a better candidate and had a better experience.
Research confirms that relying on our judgments and feelings leads to bad hiring decisions. When employers choose the candidate who seems the best during the interview, there’s only a 56% chance they’re actually the most qualified applicant for the job.
Focus on Past Job Performance
If you want to hire the most experienced candidates, make sure you’re basing your decisions on facts like skills and accolades, not feelings. Experts say the best predictor of future work success is past job performance. So the best way to determine a candidate’s suitability during the interview is to ask open-ended questions about how they handle work-related situations. Here are a few examples of good interview questions:
- Discuss a problem or challenge you faced at a previous job and how you overcame it.
- Tell me about a time when you failed at work and what you learned from the experience.
- What do you do when faced with an ethical dilemma at work?
- How do you resolve conflicts with coworkers?
Come up with one set of questions you’ll use during every so you can meaningfully compare and contrast the candidates’ answers. This will help give you objective data you can use to evaluate the interviewees rather than going off of feelings or impressions.
Don’t Weigh Personality Tests Too Heavily
Another mistake that many interviewers make is relying on personality tests to try to understand who a candidate is. Certain personality traits like conscientiousness can be predictors of job success. But unfortunately, personality tests like Myers-Briggs don’t always produce accurate, repeatable results in a hiring setting.
Studies have shown that a job candidate who takes the same personality test twice at different times often gets two completely different results. Structured interview questions about past work situations will usually tell you more about how a candidate behaves than personality questionnaires. So don’t weigh a candidate’s MBTI results too heavily during the hiring process.
Do you have any hiring or interview tips for other business owners? Help each other out by sharing your knowledge in the comments below!
Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.