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The Importance of Asking the Right Interview Questions to Find the Best Talent

Unposed group of creative business people in an open concept office brainstorming their next project.Recruiting, vetting, and ultimately hiring the best person for a growing business can pose a real challenge for hiring managers. First, a need to fill a role within the company must be identified, and then business owners must determine what type of person will best fill that role. The key to determining what type of candidate to recruit is deciding on which desirable qualities, unique skills and abilities, and personality traits will mesh well with the company culture.


The Perfect Job Posting

Recruiters are also faced with the difficulty of crafting the perfect job posting that sells the position to fitting candidates while accurately describing the position at hand. It can be a challenge to create a job posting that accurately describes the position without being too text dense or bland, while still sparking candidates' interests. A business owner or recruiter must then thoroughly vet resumes to identify the top applicants before diving into perhaps the most important step: the interview process.

Whether you have one all-encompassing, in-person interview or a series of phone, video, and in-person interviews, it’s paramount to ask the right questions to genuinely get to know a potential hire as well as possible in that limited time. Prior to the interview, a hiring manager should review the job posting to get an idea of a candidate’s expectations walking into the interview.


Preparation Is Key

To be fully prepared going into an interview, the recruiter should take the time to review the resume of each candidate, noting specific questions to ask about a candidate’s former experiences, gaps in work history, education, or ability to perform the job in question. Ultimately, selecting the best candidate can come down to the questions that an interviewer prepares for potential hires.

Hiring managers should guide the conversation in a way that reveals what sets a particular candidate apart from other applicants while also leading the candidate to critically think on the spot. Being unprepared for an interview and asking the wrong questions can lead to selecting the wrong person for the role, potentially costing the company at least 30% of the employee’s first year earnings.

Hiring the right person for a role—whether it's a budding startup or an established business—requires a leap of faith that has the potential to go wrong if candidates are not appropriately vetted. On top of the costs related to recruiting for the position, onboarding and training costs would also be wasted if the wrong candidate was selected. An investment in the wrong hire means not only thousands of wasted dollars, but is can also cause detrimental effects beyond financial losses. Business owners would likely experience decreased productivity and damage to team morale since a bad hire can lower the engagement of the entire team.


Embrace the Unfamiliar

Conducting an interview asking only common interview questions won’t be enough to find the best candidate for a job. Any applicant that knows their way around Google can quickly research “interview questions” and be able to rehearse the best responses to common questions. Recruiters are tasked with figuring out how to get applicants to give authentic answers in order to assess their cultural fit and alignment with company values.

Rather than asking common questions like “what are your strengths and weaknesses?”, interviewers should ask questions that bring out an applicant’s true character and values when they are asked a question which they have no rehearsed answer for.


For some of the most creative interview questions to ask to get to know candidates thoroughly, see the infographic from Fundera below.





About the Author: Meredith Wood is the editor-in-chief at Fundera. She has specialized in financial advice for small business owners for almost a decade, and is sought out frequently for her expertise in small business lending. Meredith’s advice has appeared in the SBA, SCORE, Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, American Banker, Small Business Trends, and more.

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