Just last week, I explained steps #2 and #3 of the structured hiring process—defining your scorecard and planning your interview. (Click here if you’re interested in knowing what step #1 is).
Now that you have your scorecard attributes defined and an interview plan in place, you can create the interview questions that will help interviewers best assess candidates on the required attributes.
Creating interview kits is necessary for a few reasons:
- As an interviewer, coming up with good questions on the spot is difficult.
- An interview kit provides a consistent framework for assessing candidates, which gives you better data for making hiring decisions at the end of the process.
- Different types of attributes are best tested by different types of interview questions.
Let’s take a look at 4 different types of questions and assessments and how you should incorporate them into your interview kit:
1. Verification questions
Verification questions are often yes/no questions, such as “Do you have experience doing ____?” or “Have you ever ____?” These types of questions are best used only to verify qualifications. Prioritize using these types of questions in the early stages of the interview process to learn whether a candidate has the desired qualifications and experience to continue moving through your interview process.
Example: “Have you ever managed a distributed team?”
2. Behavioral questions
Behavioral questions usually start with “Tell me about a time when…” These questions (or, more accurately, “prompts”) allow you to learn how someone performed in the past. Past behavior is a good indicator of how someone will perform in the future. These types of questions are best used for assessing traits and skills. It is likely that these will make up the bulk of your interview kit!
Example: To test the attribute “Inspires confidence in customers,” you might ask: “Tell me about a time when you had to lead a team without formal authority. Who were the people and what was the situation? Which hurdles did you face and how did you overcome them?”
3. Situational questions
Situational questions are usually part of a case study and are often phrased as “How would you approach ____?” or “What would you do if ____?” The purpose of situational questions is to draw out analytical and problem-solving skills. The candidate may have never handled the exact situation you’re describing, but they should be able to reason through it and explain their thought process clearly. These are usually most effective when structured as a problem-solving session that requires a particular solution at the end, or a particular work product (e.g. you ask the candidate to come up with a project plan with you).
Note that you should be careful with these questions. If they aren’t properly structured or guided, it can be easy for candidates to speak to what they believe the right answer is, without demonstrating their actual skills or abilities.
4. Skills test
Rather than being presented as a straightforward question, the skills test gives the candidate the chance to do or produce something. This will generally take the form of a take-home assignment evaluated by the hiring manager. Skills tests are extremely valuable since they give you visibility into the candidate’s work product. Can they meet a deadline? Do they understand the assignment? Is their quality of work on par with hiring manager expectations? You can determine the answers to all these questions during this phase.
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Want to know all 6 steps to structured hiring success? Be sure to download our eBook, Structured Hiring 101.