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Employer Interviewing Tips Every Human Resources Manager should Master

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As a human resources manager, you have one of the most important jobs in the company. Aside from dealing with interpersonal conflicts and compliance, you're responsible for finding the best possible candidates for your company.

If you've ever participated in the interview process, you know how much of a chore that can be. In fact, the time it takes to find the right candidate is steadily increasing, lasting around a month.

While certain staffing agencies and screening tools exist to help make your job easier, the responsibility ultimately still falls on you.

Thus, you'll want to make sure you're asking the right questions and strike the right tone. However, finding the right questions isn't exactly easy.

Cliche questions are easy to prepare for, but you want to develop rapport. Strike the right balance by checking out this list of employer interviewing questions.

Telephone Interview Questions: Getting Through the Initial Interview

Before you sit down with a candidate face to face, you'll want to get a sense of their personality over the phone. This is the initial interview process and is generally less formal than an in-person interview.

Questions are structured to give you a better sense of the candidate's overall skills and goals.

Tell Me About Yourself

Truthfully, this question is more of an icebreaker than anything. People love talking about themselves, and allowing them to do so is an easy way to ease any nerves or tension.

Aside from setting the tone for the interview, this employer interviewing question establishes a few things about a candidate.

First, do they have hobbies? Pay attention to hobbies they mention, and think of how they may fit into the current workplace.

Also get a sense for how they extrapolate on answers. Some candidates are chattier than others. This will help you shape future interviews with them.

What About Your Background Makes You a Good Fit for This Job?

With the icebreaker out of the way, it's on the meat of the phone interview. Now it's time to learn a bit more about the candidate's relevant job experience.

This question is intended to help you get a sense of previous job experience. While it should be listed on their resume, there may be certain skills they neglected to mention.

What Made You Apply for This Position?

The job can be a perfect fit, but the candidate needs to want it. Find out what about the position stood out to them and why they chose to apply.

Use this question as a chance to learn what the candidate finds interesting about the position. It should give you some insight into their career goals (more on that later).

What Were Your Previous Responsibilities at Your Last Place of Employment?

Again, some of this will likely already be on their resume, which you should have in front of you during the interview. However, this is a chance for the applicant to let you know more about what they did.

Were they given a lot of responsibility at their last place of employment? A little?

How much responsibility an employee has is a great indicator of how hardworking and trustworthy they may be.

What's a Major Challenge You Faced at Your Last Job?

Every workplace has its share of obstacles. It may be a difficult client or an interpersonal spat. It may be supply issues or even management style.

What ultimately matters, though, is that the employee overcomes these challenges.

By inquiring about past challenges, the employee has a chance to show their problem-solving skills. The employer interviewing should focus on two elements here:

First, the challenge itself. Was it something they're likely to face if you hire them?

Then, of course, you'll want to pay attention to how they approached it. If an employee is likely to encounter a similar problem, it's important that it doesn't deter productivity.

Is There Anything Else You Would Like Me To Know About You At This Time?

Finally, give the applicant the chance to ask you a few questions or clarify a few details. Remember, a resume only shows you so much.

Sometimes a candidate has tons of relevant experience that just isn't down on paper. This question can make all the difference in some cases and is a simple way to transition into ending the interview.

Furthermore, it lets you know if the job description you wrote was clear enough or needs a bit of clarification.

In-Person Employer Interviewing Questions and Tips

Should a candidate have a successful phone interview, you'll want to meet with them face to face. Often, this meeting is a bit more formal, but that doesn't mean you can't have fun.

Make sure to create a welcoming environment for the applicant.

Choose an environment to conduct the interview. Ideally, you'll pick someplace away from cubicles or other offices. Doing so will provide a quiet place to chat without distracting the other workers.

You'll also want to pay close attention to the room's lighting. Some people don't work well under fluorescent lighting as it makes them feel tired. If possible, more natural lighting is best. Open a window or even turn on a lamp.

Finally, you should have at least one copy of the applicant's resume on hand. They'll likely bring in a few of their own to hand out, but you want to look prepared and organized.

Now that the mood is right, it's time to learn a bit more about the candidate's job experience and how they'll fit in with the office culture. Prepare ahead of time with these employer interviewing questions.

What Motivates You?

By now you have a sense of who the candidate is, but it's time to learn more about who they are as an individual. Asking what motivates them is a great way to get some insight into their mind.

Whether we realize it or not, each of us has a driving factor that gets us to our jobs every day (more than paying bills, that is). Give your applicant a chance to open up a bit and tell you what they find motivating.

How Can This Company Help You Reach Your Career Goals?

Again, this question is all about the inferences you can gather from the applicant's answer. Not every employee is looking for a place to set up camp and start a career. Some just want to work a simple 9-5 job and call it a day.

The employer interviewing will get a sense of the applicant's ambitions and goals.

You already asked why they chose to apply, but this will tell you how long they plan to stick around for. The last thing you need is to go through the difficult hiring process again.

Are You Comfortable Working with Unfamiliar Software or Job Tools?

Every job requires a bit of on the job training in one way or another. It's not feasible to expect an applicant to come in knowing the office's standards and practices.

How willing a candidate is to learn about new tools or applications tells you a lot about them. If they're eager, they're likely up to the challenge. If they're skeptical or hesitant, they may not have the confidence or drive to work at your office.

Post-Interview Tips for Employer Interviewing

By now you should have a clear understanding of whether or not a candidate is a good fit for your company. It's likely going to take some time, so be patient.

However, as a human resources manager, there are a few things you can do to set yourself apart from competitors. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to keep things professional after the interview.

Watch Your Body Language

Our body language says more about us than our words if you can believe it. Therefore, make sure to stay open and warm in order to facilitate a great conversation.

Keep your shoulders back to look more relaxed and confident. It's also important to open and close the interview with a firm handshake and a smile.

Finally, the employer interviewing the candidate should make eye contact regularly. We often forget how important eye contact is for interpersonal communication, but it's a great way to establish warmth and friendliness.

Send a Follow-Up

Your candidate is likely going to follow-up with you later that day in accordance to interview etiquette. However, it never hurts to respond promptly by thanking them for their time.

You may even choose to send an email or give them a call a day or two later as an extra sign of professional courtesy.

Looking For Employer Interviewing Help?

At Scope Recruiting, we understand that you're busy. That's why we want to find the best candidates for you, so you have more time to focus on important tasks.

If you're interested in learning more employer interviewing techniques, check out our blog. And don't forget to reach out and get in touch with us online or at 256-384-5077.

We can't wait to work with you to find the best candidates for your position!


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