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1st February, 2018


What you need to know about interviewing potential employees in the time it takes to mow the lawn.

Interviewing potential employees can be a bit like mowing the lawn. At first, it seems like an overwhelming task. But once you know what you’re doing and what to look out for, it’s a lot simpler than it seems.

In this article, we’ll take you through what you should be looking for in potential candidates, what questions to ask and how to make a formal job offer.

We’ve trimmed off all the excess info so that it only takes you seven minutes to read this post.

Now that you’ve successfully attracted potential candidates to fill a role in your business – or if you haven’t, you can read how to do that here – it’s time to master the art of interviewing.

Interviews are useful for working out which candidate will be the best fit for your business.

But when you’re sitting on the other side of the table, what should you actually be looking for in a candidate?

In an interview situation, here are five areas to consider to see whether a potential candidate is right for your team:

1. Skills

The first thing you want to ask yourself is if the candidate is capable of doing the tasks that you need them to do.

While they might not necessarily tick every box, one thing you want to be sure of is that they can learn and adapt quickly.

2. Motivation

Why does your candidate want the job? Are they passionate about the industry or the craft involved in the role, or do they just see the job as a way to pay the bills?

Understanding what motivates them will give you an idea of how they might behave in the workplace.

3. Goals and aspirations

Where does the candidate want to be in five years?

Understanding where they want to take their career will help you decide if they’re a good, long-term match for your business.

4. Attitude

Many employers report that attitude is increasingly more important in a candidate than skills. While skills can be taught, the way that they approach their tasks and deal with challenges is something that only they can change.

A good attitude that is solutions-focused will make working together much more productive – and enjoyable.

5. Other areas of interest

Getting to know how a candidate spends their spare time gives you an idea of their personality and values. This information can help you assess whether they’re a good cultural fit for your business.

To help you get the most out of an interview as an employer, we’ve put together three steps to helping you prepare for the meeting. You can read more about those here.

What questions to ask for an interview

When interviewing candidates, the type of questions you ask will let you know whether they have specific skills or attributes that you’re looking for.

Interview questions are typically grouped around the following topics:

1. Performance

These questions are about gauging whether the candidate’s way of working and quality of work are up to scratch.

If your business has specific needs regarding performance, such as the need to produce work quickly, a question you could ask is: ‘Tell us about a time that you had to work under pressure and how you dealt with it.’

2. Cultural fit

These questions should be aimed around finding if your candidate’s personal values match the values of the business.

If you run a gym, you’re probably looking for employees that are health-conscious. To uncover if a candidate values health, you could ask them: ‘Tell us about the role health and fitness play in your life.’

READ: How to create a positive workplace culture

3. Teamwork

If your employees work in a collaborative environment, you’ll probably want to make sure interview candidates can work well in a team.

A typical question to gauge the candidate’s teamwork skills is: ‘Tell us about a time you had to work in a team and what role you played.’

4. Communication

Communication skills are useful in most workplaces.

While you’ll get a sense of how well candidates speak during the interview, asking about the specific ways they’ll need to communicate with their colleagues or your clients is also a good idea.

An example of these type of questions includes: ‘How would you communicate with a client who’s unhappy with their product/service?’

How to make a formal job offer

Once you’ve had the chance to review all your candidates and you’ve decided on a person you’d like to extend an offer to, there are two common ways to let them know:

a. Via phone call

b. Via email

Your offer should open with the fact that their application has been successful and you wish to offer them the role that they’d applied for.

You should also send over them a contract to review as soon as possible, as they may wish to negotiate their terms of employment.

Top 3 takeaways

  1. Interviewing is about finding out who is best candidate for the role you’re trying to fill in your company.
  2. When interviewing, you want to find out about a candidate’s skills, motivation, goals and aspirations, as well as their attitude and other interests.
  3. Interview questions should be designed to get the candidate to demonstrate their abilities and attributes in certain areas. These areas could include work performance, cultural fit, teamwork and communication skills.

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