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3 interviewing techniques every employer needs to know

Monday, 25 February 2019 11:11 AM | People power

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Want to get more from your interviewing process? Avoid making a bad hire by using these top 3 interviewing techniques.

The interview process is always a two-way street, and candidates will use a range of sources to reference a potential employer. They will look at the Twitter feed to see how social the team are, or Glassdoor for how people rate the company and its leadership, for example.

The right approach to interviewing can help you determine the cultural fit, value and potential of a candidate and minimise the risk of a toxic hire. The CV has given you their experience and skills, but your questions should help to determine their potential impact and leadership capability. We spoke to some of our members to give you the top 3 interviewing techniques for employers.

Interview Technique 1: Use S.O.A.R (Situation, Objective, Actions, Results)

Some members use S.O.A.R (Situation, Objective, Actions, Results) when interviewing candidates. When giving examples, most people will focus on the situation and the result, so ask why they did it that way and what actions they took personally. If they say ‘I’ they probably led it whereas ‘we’ suggests they were just part of the team that did it.

You want to get to the core of why the interviewee behaves the way they do and how they make important decisions. Ask for an example of a specific achievement and gradually peel back the layers to get to a person’s true contributions by asking subsequent questions. From this, you can gauge not only why and how they make decisions but how they find solutions for themselves or with the help of those around them.

Example interview questions:

  • Leadership: How have you brought different people together to achieve a shared goal?
  • Decisiveness: How do you make important decisions?

Interview Technique 2: The Friend Tactic

This is not a test to see how well you might get along with this person down the pub. Instead, you want to evaluate their ability to form and sustain long-lasting relationships.

Ask what they like most about their friends, how they met them, and how long they’ve known them. An all-rounder will have lifelong, school and work friends and if you ask what those friends would say about the candidate they are less likely to exaggerate or lie. This can also help when you’re considering how they will fit into your team culture.

Whilst we aren’t always the same at work as we are with friends, a few questions about how they see themselves within the context of others can be very insightful. For example, find out what the interviewee has accomplished, how they describe themselves and the people around them. Listen carefully are there any inconsistencies and do they have emotional intelligence towards their behaviour and how it impacts others. When asking questions within the friend tactic consider building your values and key behaviours into interview questions to ensure you are more likely to recruit candidates with the right cultural fit.

Example interview questions:

  • Maturity: What were you like at school and how has that changed?
  • Personal legacy: What would be written on your gravestone?
  • Lifestyle aspirations: What would you do if you won the lottery?
  • Relaxation: What is your perfect holiday?

Interview Technique 3: Overcoming past challenges

To determine their ambition and the impact they have had in previous roles, ask them about challenges they have overcome, and failures they’ve learned from. What motivates and demotivates them? Where do they see themselves in five years, and what do they want to achieve by then? These questions will help you understand their level of experience, emotional intelligence, and leadership potential; especially if the challenges are related to management. You can also try to incorporate their career and life goals into their development plans to help them progress.

If you’re looking for future leaders in your business, ask a question that looks at vision, the ability to articulate so others can understand, emotional maturity, courage, commitment and resilience.

Example interview questions:

  • Management: Who was your best and worst teacher/boss, and why?
  • Logical thinking: How many windows are in London (and how do they get to their number)?
  • Presentation: Have you done any public or group speaking?
  • Stress tolerance: What is the most high-pressure situation you have ever dealt with?

Outside the interview...

Interviews are time consuming and finding the right person for your business can be vital for culture and growth. As well as the above tactics our members also suggested the following techniques outside of the interview.

Try before you buy

Some members encourage a trial day for new candidates; if they are prepared to book a day off work to spend a day with a prospective employer, it shows their commitment but also allows both parties to assess how good the match will be

Trial interview

If you’re recruiting graduates, you could offer to pay for a week-long working interview to assess attitude and ability while they decide if it’s what they want to do and where

Creative recruitment

Member Adam Greenwood of Greenwood Campbell won Best Recruitment Video at the In-House Recruitment Awards with this video:

Our members shared these tips with us as part of our Talent Tactics guide- if you would like to become a member, to learn from fellow founders and share your experiences in business, why not apply? Find out more about joining The Supper Club here.

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