Hiring the right employee can mean the difference between the successful, smooth running of your business and incurring lots of stress, spending time and money on training the wrong person, and ultimately repeating the process until you have hired the right candidate.

Streamlining your interview process to the point where you, the employer, can ask specific questions that pinpoint the skills, attributes, and character traits you are looking for can eliminate the wasted time, money, and headache that comes from choosing someone unfit for the job.

Here are some things to look for when interviewing your next job candidates.

Interview Questions and Why They Work

Having effective interview questions written on a worksheet or template that you use during an in-person interview is a good way to keep track of a candidate’s answers. The first few interview questions you ask will reveal if the candidate is right for what you are looking for or not.

Vague questions like, “Why are you interested in this position?” will not net you the most bang for your buck. The best interview questions to ask will give you multiple insights into the person with one answer. Avoid questions that evoke rehearsed, canned answers of what the interviewee thinks you want to hear.

Instead, the interviewer can ask, “What made you apply for this position, and what specifically intrigued you about it?” Their answer will give you insight into what is important to them and their motivations. You can align that with your business’s goals to see if they will be a good fit.

Other interview questions to ask a candidate can give you a glimpse of what is going on in their personal life. Something as simple as, “Why are you leaving your current employer/position?” can show you if there is a change coming that you need to be aware of, or if something big happened recently that might affect their work. Did the candidate leave on a negative note, or are they looking to further their career, skills, and knowledge?

It is important to understand how the potential employee views working with others – specifically coworkers and clients. Asking a question like, “How would your coworkers describe you and your performance at your current job? How would you describe your interactions with them?” can tell you a lot about how he or she perceives others and how they feel about the importance of teamwork.

Using your interview worksheet as you listen to the answers can help you tally how often the interviewee answers a response regarding teamwork, motivation, job skills, and whatever else you feel is important. This can help you tailor your follow-up questions towards those areas you do not feel were fully addressed. Again, this will help streamline the interview process to include as few questions as possible.

Potential Employees and What to Watch For

Having good interview questions to ask is important, but so is knowing how to interview someone for a job. Actions often tell a lot about a person, and being able to read body language and tone can sometimes help you spot problems before hiring the wrong employee for the job.

Body language can consist of everything from posture to facial expressions, and it can show you answers that words may not. Learning to read a potential candidate’s body language is a skill that takes time to master. Once mastered, however, it can tell you a lot about a candidate’s true motivations.

Something as basic as slouching should set off warning bells. It says that the interviewee does not have any self esteem, or even worse, has no respect for you as the interviewer.

Seat positioning also speaks volumes. Sitting on the edge of the seat with straight posture and eye contact shows that the candidate is interested in the job and eager to be hired. On the contrary, leaning back shows a lack of interest or disrespect.

Many people use hand gestures when they communicate, and this can be a cultural thing. Learning what those hand movements say about a person’s character can be like learning another language. Candidates who overly use hand gestures and movements are often authoritative and can be seen as intimidating to coworkers. Those who fidget, play with their hair, or have other nervous habits are often introverted, shy, and lack self-esteem. Neither of these traits are good or bad. You will need to decide if they are something can that fit in with your job needs and the company’s culture, but knowing what to look for will help you make this determination.

There are many other telltale signs that will let you know a lot about your potential employee. It will be well worth your time to do some research regarding how to analyze body language before your next candidate interview.

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Basic Interview Questions to Ask as an Interviewer

The types of questions to ask when conducting an interview will vary depending on the job description you are trying to fill, but there are some basic interview questions to ask that are considered the best interview questions to get the most effective responses.

Here is a list of the top five questions to ask an interviewee and the rationale behind them.

  • Tell me something about yourself that I may find surprising. This is an opportunity to break down a wall and learn something spontaneous and interesting about your candidate that you may not have known otherwise.
  • Tell me about an instance that you had at work where you had a conflict with a colleague. What happened, and how did you resolve it? This question can show you how the interviewee tackles conflict and uses problem solving skills to move forward, how they feel about colleagues and teamwork, and how they learn from setbacks.
  • What is your ideal job position, and why is it important to you? This question is a win-win. It gives the candidate an opportunity to showcase what they feel are their best skills, and gives you the chance to see if those skills will align with your needs. It also lets you see their passion regarding what they care about, and what motivates them.
  • What is a skill you feel could use further development in your life? How did you make that determination, and have you done anything to help improve it? This question is an excellent opportunity to see how a candidate views himself, how they overcome obstacles, and how they handle potential failures.
  • Do you have any questions for me? This question can show you how much preparation a candidate did prior to the interview. If they brought written questions to ask, or jotted them down during the interview, it can show that they are interested in taking an active role in your company.

Regardless of the questions you choose to ask, whether they are your favorite job interview questions or quick interview questions, you should prepare for the interview just as much as the potential candidates. It’s important to research, analyze, and craft the best interview questions for your specific job position in order for them to help you glean as much as you can from the candidate’s answers. Watch for body language and tone, and try to ensure that the answers cover all the ground you feel is important for a successful employee/employer relationship.

Preparing the right questions can save you time, stress, and money. There are no right and wrong answers, but if you know what you are looking for, it will help you choose the right person the first time, every time.