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interview questions

Interview questions that qualify talent and demonstrate culture

In the New World of Work, recruiters and hiring managers must rely on a mix of traditional job interview questions and re-imagined questions in order to qualify talent and demonstrate culture.

Job interviews were traditionally a game played on the organization’s home court. Now, however, the playing field has been levelled. With talent driving the market, it’s critical for organizations to not only screen for the right fit, but also position themselves as the right fit for candidates.

If you’re responsible for talent acquisition within your organization, the following information will break down the different types of questions organizations can leverage to demonstrate culture while screening talent.

Types of job interview questions 

To ensure an in-depth understanding of the candidate’s ability to excel in the opportunities, interview questions should involve a mix of: 

  • Skills-based questions 
  • Behavior-based questions 
  • Out-of-the-box questions 

Skills-based questions 

These traditional interview questions assess the candidate’s skills and experience to see how their past qualifications could help them succeed at the organization’s opportunity. Some examples include: 

  • What kind of teams have you managed before? 
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? 
  • Tell us about your experience on [x project] from conception to launch. 

Behavior-based questions 

These interview questions assess the candidate’s approach to work, typically by inquiring about past experiences to see how they apply their soft skills to problem-solving. The STAR approach (Situation / Task / Action / Result) is a popular methodology for behavioral questions. Some examples include: 

  • Tell me about a time you handled conflict in a team you led. 
  • Describe a time when you implemented a new procedure to solve a problem. 
  • Have you had to handle an angry customer before? How did you diffuse the situation and resolve their complaint? 

Out-of-the-box questions 

These non-traditional interview questions are emerging as successful qualifiers, especially as organizations expand their candidate scope to include talent with adjacent rather than direct experience. These interview questions – or often tacticsdemonstrate candidates’ critical thinking, creativity and strategy skills. These questions often indirectly corroborate candidates’ skills and behavioral responses. Some examples include: 

  • Analyzing and presenting case studies. 
  • Solving puzzles, riddles and number games. 
  • Presentations: particularly for sales and marketing roles. 
  • Role-playing hypothetical situations the candidate would encounter on the job. 

Choosing the right mix of interview questions 

There isn’t a magic formula for putting together an interview script that combines the ideal number of each question type. Finding the right mix depends on: 

  • Job description. 
  • Hiring manager leadership style. 
  • Role seniority level. 
  • Niche skill set required.

Don’t forget to incorporate a minimum of 3 compelling reasons why the candidate should want to join your organization in the initial interview. 

Crafting questions with additional considerations 

The Great Resignation and Reshuffle, new work models, emerging return to the office strategies, and a renewed focus on DEI are helping to reshape additional questions that will help find the right fit. These considerations include:  

  1. Communication 
    Remote, Work-from-Anywhere and hybrid work models compel organizations to ensure that candidates are agile communicators that can collaborate across different platforms.  

ASK: Describe a scenario where you were required to collaborate with team members both in person and participating online. How did you ensure engagement and that messages were successfully received?  

  1. Work Preferences 
    As more and more organizations are rolling out their return to office strategies and work models, it’s important to discover if worker preferences are in alignment with what the organization is trying to build. 

ASK: Are you willing to come into the physical office or do you prefer 100% remote work?  

  1. Shared values and beliefs 
    Today’s talent care about the causes they’re passionate about – and they want an employer that shares the same beliefs. This is essential to building a culture that is sustainable.  

ASK: What are some causes that matter to you and how can you see this company contributing to these causes in a meaningful way? 

  1. DEI
    As Diversity, Equity and Inclusion becomes a greater priority for workers, it’s important to demonstrate that that DEI is a central focus and that the organization is looking for candidates who share the same principles. Rather than asking DEI questions, however, highlight how leadership ensures core pillars are demonstrated within the organization.

The recruitment landscape has changed

For many HR professionals around the globe, 2021 was a year of reactive solutions to overcoming new hiring challenges presented by the pandemic. As the workforce and talent priorities continue to evolve in a labor market that’s more competitive than ever, the time is now for organizations to re-imagine how and where they acquire and retain talent.

The Re-Imagined Recruitment Playbook

Over the past two years, we have captured hard won lessons learned across thousands of worker hiring engagements by our team of professional recruiters and distilled them into practical ideas that you can start using immediately. The Re-Imagined Recruitment Playbook is a step-by-step guide to help source, screen, select, onboard and retain talent in the New World of Work.

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Interview questions that qualify talent and demonstrate culture

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