Any employer looking to add a new hire to the mix needs to be aware of certain things. Beyond the obvious criteria -- what position the interviewee seeks, and in what industry -- be sure to go through Global Careers' time-tested checklist:
Use Global Careers' inclusive checklist to determine the types of compensation and benefits appropriate for prospective new hires at various levels of experience. Adobe Acrobat required.
"Tell me about yourself."
This gives you the opportunity to find out what a candidate thinks sets him or her apart from the pack, and will give you a basis for candidate-specific questions. Some candidates may ask for guidance -- "What, specifically?" -- but most will give you a look into their professional and/or educational background.
"Why do you want to work here?" or "What about our company interests you?"
This is your opportunity to see if candidates really care about the position, and will put in a true effort. It will also show if the candidate took the initiative to investigate the company. Finally, candidates will often explain how this position is the next logical step on their career path.
"Why did you leave your last job?"
You are really asking "Were there any notable problems with your last employer?" And most interviewees know this. Still, expect honesty. Whether or not any mentioned problems will propigate into this position is something you'll pick up on throughout the rest of the interview.
"What are your best skills?"
A pretty straightforward question. You may want to specify certain skill-sets that the candidate brought up in the first question.
"What is your major weakness?"
Besides learning what a candidate cannot do or where he or she lacks confidence, this question affords the candidate to offer honesty combined with a desire for self-improvement.
"Do you prefer to work by yourself or with others?"
The ideal answer is one of flexibility, in most situations. Also ask for examples describing how candidates have worked in both situations.
"What are your career goals?" or "What are your future plans?"
See if the candidate's plans and the company's goals are compatible. Further, see if the candidate will grow into larger roles with the company, or is taking another step down a mutli-employer (if not multi-career) path.
"What are your hobbies?" and "Do you play any sports?"
You'd be surprised how often outside interests translate into job-ready skills. A person with a leadership role on a basketball team may have good project management skills, someone who likes to cook -- much like tweaking recipies -- may be able to add extra insight to projects, etc. Besides, the company softball team can probably use a second baseman.
"What salary are you expecting?"
If you ask this question -- and you probably should -- expect to have it reflected back to you. Most candidates will want you to make the first offer, so be ready to do so. In any case, this will eliminate a good number of candidates right away.
"Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?"
No trick here; candidates may not have been able to bring up things that you would otherwise want to know.
"Any questions for us?"
As above, this is there to cover any untouched bases. Candidates will be able to ask questions highlighting their concerns, which will provide insight regarding many aspects of their persona. Also, you can use this question to detail where other questions lack clarity.
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