Our purpose in the hiring interview is to find out as much as we can from our applicant. And we normally do this by asking various questions about their experience and hard skills and ideally we take some time to inquire about their soft skills.*
Normally this information is acquired through a “one way line of questioning.”
Let’s broaden this out a bit. Find out what the applicant wants to know about you.
Now a good number of interviewers will do this but the point of this hiring tip is to see just how far you can go with this approach.
Instead of asking Alice, “What would you like to ask me about working here?” you might handle this a bit more directly:
“Alice, I’m sure you have a list of questions about our company. Let’s get started with those.”
You really do want Alice to ask away. The more questions she asks you, the more insight you’ll gain.
If Alice is not prepared to ask you anything, you could nudge her along with:
“Well, I imagine you’d like to ask me about the company culture and what it’s like to work with the staff here.”
Then just sit there silent and await her response.
If you’ve mentioned pay but not in great detail, you could ask, “Did you want to ask about overtime or any off hour requirements we may have?”
Again, just ask and await an answer.
In Alice’s defense, her lack of curiosity may simply be that she is accustomed to the interview being a one way street. But she should want to know if the company is a good fit for her. She’ll find out some of that from your questioning but she’ll find out considerably more if she’s pro-active in the interview.
And the flip side of that is Alice may indeed have a shopping list of questions to ask. Let her ask away.
The more back and forth you have, the more you’ll learn.
* soft skills: personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.
As the law varies in each area, please check with an attorney to ensure you are applying these tips within the law.
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