Hiring for the Apartment Industry? Rewriting the Interview!
How would you describe your ideal job?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
What can you tell me about our company?
If you have experience as a hiring authority, or, for that matter, if you have ever interviewed for a job, these questions will sound painfully familiar. They are part of the traditional litany of interview questions lobbed at almost every job candidate. Those questions, along with another 50 or so standard questions, can give you a decent picture of what kind of employee the candidate will make. But is that all you need?
This is my second decade in the recruiting industry, and I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of hiring authorities and job seekers. A recruiting firm has a unique role in the interview process. Since we work with both parties, it allows us to provide and educate both so that the desired result is achieved and the right candidate matches up with the right employer. It is our job to help the hiring authority find the best fit for her company and make sure that she is evaluating the candidate effectively. This article will discuss what the right interview questions are and why it’s so important to ask them.
What are the right questions?
It is important to understand everything you can about how the candidate will perform her job in your office. You want to understand her career goals, and you want to make sure that your working relationship can be mutually beneficial. However, in the rush to complete an interview, other useful information that can help you make an even more informed hiring decision is often left undiscovered.
What is remarkable is that the most important things to learn about a potential employee are also the most obvious ones and those that are frequently neglected in a basic interview. They are:
• Does the candidate know what she is expected to do?
• Does she know what it takes to meet these expectations?
• Can she do the job well?
• Can she do the job quickly and efficiently?
• Can she see how her role fits into the larger picture of office performance?
Your goal is to create a robust working office environment – one where talent and efficiency work together to improve your bottom line. How your employees perform their jobs and how they make your office operate better should be the focus of your interview.
How do you ask the right questions?
If you’re not accustomed to asking for this kind of detail in an interview, it may feel more like you’re administering a test rather than having a cordial chat, but it doesn’t need to. To ease the process, you should come to the interview prepared with a clearly enumerated list of job requirements and a list of tasks your candidate will be expected to perform daily or frequently.
Take time to go through your specific expectations.
Even if it’s the smallest task, let the candidate know what’s expected of her. Make sure you’re on exactly the same page before you continue.
Ask if the candidate has performed the task in another office environment.
Have the candidate walk you through the task and ask if she has ever improved efficiency, streamlined a process or automated any of the tasks she will be expected to do. Ask if she has been in an office where someone else has done so.
Ask the candidate to think about specific challenges that she might encounter on a daily basis.
Don’t be afraid to ask for concrete examples. If you have some of your own examples prepared, you may be able to prompt your candidate to think of some others on her own. Ask how she might overcome these challenges and what the results might be. Remember, you are looking for how this one specific candidate is going to perform her job and how she will make your company better because of it.
Why is this process so important?
It is difficult to locate, entice and hire talented people. The process is tedious and loaded with pitfalls, the supply of good candidates is short, and unless your hiring for a large company with a dedicated recruiter, hiring is probably not your only job.
In spite of the inherent difficulty, your interview process should not just fall to simple routine. Even for the least critical of your office jobs, you should take the time to find the most talented person you can find for the following reasons:
• The difference between an average candidate and a top-notch candidate can mean thousands of dollars. For example, the extra time you spend looking for a cheerful, productive receptionist that your clients enjoy talking to, should be worth it in the long run.
• No matter how strong your team is already, the addition of another strong person should make it even stronger. When your office works better, your bottom line looks better.
• If your team knows that you’re always looking for the best employees, then you are making the point that you want the best from them at all times.
The interview is an important process, and it deserves to be elevated above the choreographed dance it has become. While it is nice to know how your candidate answers routine questions – like, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “Do you prefer working alone or in teams?” – remember that what you are really looking for is, “Can you do the job, and can you do it well?”