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Occasionally I get feedback from candidates post interview that they were asked questions that had nothing to do with the job. They’re not referring to behavioral questions about “how would you solve this problem” or “tell me a story about when you solved something”. They’re talking about functional and technical questions which are irrelevant to the role.

This happens frequently when the interviewer is not experienced with being on the other side of the desk.

The questions you choose to ask during interviews is of paramount importance. You only get a small amount of time with a candidate, so you need to maximize your time.

A good practice for hiring is to be sure that all stakeholders participating in the interviewing process understand their purpose. There should be a common understanding of what they are all looking for, and how they intend to get that information. That doesn’t mean they need to ask the same questions, but they do need to agree that they will include relevant requests for information.

The first place to start is with the required qualifications of the role. What are different ways you can get the information about how someone has the experience to do the job? I’m sure there are dozens of different ways to ask the question, and having it asked by multiple interviewers will indicate consistency and truth.

Secondly, ask for details about how they’ve done this in the past. If a candidate is struggling to communicate their experience, it’s possible that they truly haven’t mastered this skill. If they can talk about how they’ve done it (even if it’s a different perspective), that gives you a benchmark to work with.

Thirdly, ask about how to make decisions. Do they use data or group consensus? Are they quick to come to conclusions, or do they need time to gather enough information? How does their decision making skill reflect into your own company values?

Behavioral interviewing is generally based on the STAR method – situation, tasks, actions and results. Basic questions that outline the STAR form may include:

  • What is the background of this task you’re working on?
  • What instruction or tasks were you provided?
  • What was your action?
  •  What were the measured results?

At the follow up to candidate interviews, it’s important to have a calibration conversation with all of the members of the interviewing team to get the feedback. After all, it’s the final step in good interviewing!!!