Posts Tagged ‘Interview Questions’

Guarantee A Great Cultural Fit With These 5 Interview Questions

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Business meeting.

Tom Sheehan, CAI’s HR Business Partner, shares the questions you should be asking your candidates to gauge whether they will be a strong cultural match for your business.

According to a study by Leadership IQ, 46% of newly-hired employees failed within 18 months, and contrary to popular belief only 11% failed due to technical skills.   The majority of the 20,000 new hires tracked in this study failed for interpersonal/fit issues.  As I once heard it put, “you’re hired for what you know and fired for who you are.”

As a result, it’s absolutely critical that all managers in your organization, especially anyone involved with interviewing potential employees, have a good grasp of your company’s culture and refer back to it throughout the hiring process.  HR leaders need to ensure that all leaders understand and can articulate the founding principles of your culture, and that they know how to effectively test for these principles when they are interviewing candidates. It’s also important to include culture-based questions in every interview round. Here are five interview questions that should help assess ‘culture fit:’

1. What was the most frustrating thing about working at your last company?

If the candidate expresses frustration about the amount of corporate email, daily meetings, or anything else that your company also has, you can probably assume this candidate isn’t a good fit for your company.

2. Describe your ideal work environment. What is the single most important factor that must be present for you to be successful at your job?

Personal work environment preferences can vary greatly. Some people like a set schedule while others require a great deal of scheduling flexibility. Some don’t mind travel while others do not want any travel at all. Some employees like working for a smaller more personal company while others prefer being part of a larger organization.

3. What is your preferred work style: alone or part of a team? If you could divide your work time, what percentage would you assign to each?

Most jobs are a mixture of working alone and working on a team. However, the mix can vary widely. Knowing if a person prefers working alone most of the time is critical in a job where most of the work is done as a team. The opposite is also true.

4. What characteristics would you ideally want to have in a boss? Describe the management style that brings out your best work.

Some job candidates have a strong preference in the kind of manager they like to work with and the ones they don’t. For example, trying to fit an autocratic manager with an employee who likes a democratic style can be a recipe for a difficult working relationship.

5. When working in a team, describe the role you most often play? How would your co-workers describe the role you play on the team?

Most people have a preferred role when it comes to being a part of a team. It might be as leader, a coordinator, or an implementer. It is good to know what their preference is and if they are able to adapt their approach.

For any further help with this subject, or any talent management issues, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution team at 919‑878‑9222 or 336‑668‑7746.

What other interview questions have worked to assess a great cultural fit for you? Please let us know in the comments!

The Single Question Interview

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News and Observer  column, The View from HR.

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

“Come on, now.  A single question interview?”  I hear the doubters already, and I was one before I learned the method.  Suspend disbelief for a moment and see what I mean.

Interviews should not be about ball teams, whether you know the same people, or about your great company or product.  They certainly are not about how many people you can meet in 30-minute blocks.

The purpose of an interview is to determine whether someone is a fit for the role.  The best predictor of future fit and performance is past performance.  What is the best way to uncover past performance?  Ask, but ask hard and ask long.

Here’s what I mean:  At the start of your next interview of a candidate, ask that person to tell you the one work or career accomplishment he or she is most proud of, and say you plan to discuss that accomplishment with them.  Give people time to think.  If they come up with none, you know enough already.  Short interview.  Talk about ball teams for a while.

When candidates describe their most significant accomplishment, dissect it in every way possible.  Ask “Whose idea was it?  Why were you selected for the role?  What was your role in the project?  Who did you report to?  What hurdles did you encounter?  How did you overcome those hurdles?  What was the resource budget?  Did the project meet expectations?”

Request candidates to describe three crisis points and how they were resolved.  What was the impact on the team?  What was the impact on customers?  Have candidates draw a picture of the people involved and how they were able to influence those outside their team.  Ask “What help did you seek that was granted?  What help was denied?  How did you deal with the denial?  What one regret do you have from the project?  What did you learn?  What would you do differently today?  Why did you just say that?  If I interviewed the key team members, what would they say about the experience with you?  Who was your biggest critic and why?”

Ask manager candidates questions revealing how they handled key management responsibilities, communication, accountability, performance management, goal setting and conflict resolution.  Ask others about executing plans, steering around obstacles, getting clarifications or exceptions, meeting deadlines and getting the job done.

All of your questions so far should be about the single most important accomplishment in the candidates’ own career.  They should be the expert on this accomplishment.  They should be well-prepared.  They should not hesitate or sweat.  They should not bob or weave.  This is their own story, after all.

A serious effort will take you an hour or more.  Ask one or two others to join you to keep the follow-up questions fresh, responsive and useful.  Press hard and long.  Others will pick up on things you will not see or hear.  A good candidate may feel this was the best interview he or she ever had.  A bad candidate or poor fit may look stressed.

Afterward there is time for ball teams, tours, 30-minute meetings with others, selling the candidate on the company and such.  Try it and let me know how it went.

For additional guidance, please give our Advice and Resolution Team a call at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

The Questions You Shouldn’t Ask in an Interview

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

interview questionsInterviewing candidates can be an enjoyable and sometimes stressful endeavor. This interview or interviews may be the only chance you get to ask all that you want to know about a candidate before you make a hiring decision.

You don’t want to forget to ask something and you do want to ask all of the right things. This could sound alarming to you, or maybe you love interviewing candidates and that is one of the reasons you decided to go into HR. No matter what your view is on interviewing, one thing you don’t want to do is ask questions that could get you and your company into trouble.

That’s right, trouble. There are interview questions that are illegal.  According to a recent survey from Careerbuilder.com*, one in five employers has unknowingly asked a job candidate an illegal interview question. The legality of these questions ultimately protects both parties involved. For you and your future candidates’ protection, take a look at this list of illegal interview questions:

  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • Are you pregnant?
  • What is your political affiliation?
  • What is your race, color or ethnicity?
  • How old are you?
  • Are you disabled?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children or plan to?
  • Are you in debt?
  • Do you socially drink or smoke?
  • When do you plan to retire?
  • Where do you live?
  • What was the nature of your military discharge?
  • Are you a U.S. citizen?

You may find that you have asked some of these questions before, or that you need to know these things to make your hiring decisions. You may have wanted to know if someone was ok with relocating so you asked her where she lives. To make sure you are protected, ask her instead flat out if she is willing to relocate. Or ask a candidate where he sees himself in fifteen years instead of when he is planning on retiring.

Think through interview questions before asking them, and make sure you aren’t breaking any laws!

For more information of the legalities of interviews and interview questions, contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Resolution Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

*Careerbuilder.com

Photo Source: COD Newsroom

6 Insightful Interview Questions for Finding the Right New Hire

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

right hireCAI’s Advice and Counsel team member Reneé Watkins gets several  phone calls from employers asking for interview questions that will assist them in determining if a job seeker is a good fit for a position. To help organizations ask the right questions, Reneé references information from Jeff Haden’s Inc.com article 14 Revealing Interview Questions . Jeff shares the favorite interview questions of various top executives.

Try using a few of the unique questions from the leaders during your next candidate interview:

(1) “If we’re sitting here a year from now celebrating what a great year it’s been for you in this role, what did we achieve together?” – Randy Garutti, CEO – Shake Shack

The answer to this question reveals whether the candidate has done her research not only on her position, but the company’s mission and values as well.

 (2) “When have you been most satisfied in your life?” – Dick Cross, CEO – Cross Partnership

This question will help you uncover what the job seeker needs to be content with his career path and how your organization can help him achieve job satisfaction.

(3) “If you got hired, loved everything about this job and are paid the salary you asked for, what kind of offer from another company would you consider?” – Ilya Pozen, Founder – Ciplex

Decipher if the candidate is driven by money, responsibility or an enjoyable work atmosphere when you ask this question.

 (4) “Who is your role model and why?” – Clara Shih, CEO – Hearsay Social

Ask this question to learn what the candidate values and the types of character traits he admires.

(5) “Tell me about a recent project or problem that you made better, faster, smarter, more efficient or less expensive.” – Edward Wimmer, Co-Owner – RoadID

Allow your interviewee to brag about herself. This question will help you get insight on the candidate’s work ethic.

 (6) “So, what’s your story?” – Richard Funess, Managing Partner – Finn Partners

Get more information about the candidate and his life experiences by asking him this question.

For more tips to enhance your recruiting and hiring process, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Victor1558

Components of a Successful Interview

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

The interview process – it’s what some refer to as the “make it or break it” moment of careers. The face-to-face time with potential employers is the one opportunity job seekers have to sell themselves, leave a lasting impression and give reason to why they are most fitting for the job at hand.

With most interviews, employers tend to ask the same question across all industries:  What questions, if any, do you have for us?

Don’t miss this opportunity. This is the last chance before the selection process to stand out among the competition. By not asking a question, or asking the wrong question, you could possibly close the doors altogether. Consider the following as you prepare for your next interview.

Responsibilities – You have seen the job description and are aware of the basic skills and responsibilities required for the current position. Take time during the interview to decipher the day-to-day expectations and uncover what is of most importance. Out of all the roles this position fulfills, what makes it vital to the long-term health of the company?

Management – To perform well, employees must comprehend the type of leadership the organization employs. Discuss the management styles within the given department and consider how they match with the kind of communication you work best under. Employers will respect your desire for clear communication and working under a team-oriented mindset.

Culture – A majority of interview discussions are centered on the required tasks and functions of a position, but take the opportunity to redirect the close of conversation toward corporate culture. People most often remain loyal to an organization because of its culture, and employers will be pleasantly surprised to know that you value the work environment just as much as the job you fulfill.

Vertical growth – Most people aren’t satisfied with performing the same job for the rest of their career. If your personality is one that is focused on growth, it’s important to inquire about the internal advancement process. Are there any formal processes in place and is internal advancement a common occurrence within the organization? Discussing advancement doesn’t mean you won’t be focused on the current position, but shows employers that you desire challenge, additional responsibility and a long-term relationship within the organization.

For additional information, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: TenSafeFrogs