Today's blog post comes to you from a Ready Prep Interview Representative!
When it comes down to it, the primary purpose of the interviewing process is to gain assurance that whoever you hire can do the job successfully. A situational job interview consists of a series of questions focused on drawing out the actual experience a candidate has in demonstrating the specific qualities or skills that are required to do the job. The theory behind the situational job interview is that a candidate’s past performance is one of the best indicators of future performance.
While not rocket science, here are 3 tips that will help you conduct great situational interviews and as a result hire the best candidate for the position.
Ask the Right Questions
Create a list of the qualities and skills required to do the job you are looking to fill. One of the best places to start is the job description you have created for the position. Verify your list with current employees who hold the same position or other employees who will work with the candidate you hire.
Once you have a good list of qualities and skills required to do the job, translate them into a list of interview questions that ask for situations where the candidate has demonstrated the skill or quality. For example, if the candidate needs to be able to accept criticism on a regular basis, you might ask “Share a time when you have received criticism about your work. What was the situation and how did you handle it?”
One resource that will help you identify questions you should consider asking is Ready Prep Interview, a website that hosts thousands of job specific situational job interview questions. Once you find the position you are interviewing for, the questions are already sorted by the importance of the quality or skill being tested so you can simply start at the top and work your way down.
Require Detailed Responses
As you already know, some candidates are better at interviewing than others. One of the most common mistakes I see a candidate make is when a candidate just tells the interviewer what he or she wants to hear instead of a real situation. For example, when asked to provide a situation when their ethics were tested, the candidate may respond by saying that honesty is an important value to them. As an interviewer, this doesn’t tell you much. Anyone can say that. The candidate’s response won’t help you choose them over another candidate. Especially if another candidate gives you a detailed situation of when their ethics were tested and how they overcame it.
Don’t let a candidate’s inexperience with interviewing get in the way of you hiring them. The key is to not let your candidates off the hook too easily. Push for specific examples. Feel free to ask for details. Give your candidates every chance to provide detailed examples of how they have demonstrated the skills and qualities you are looking for.
Be Consistent and Take Good Notes
While you may want to vary some of your questions based on a candidate’s level of experience, the bulk of the questions you ask should be used for all candidates applying to the same position. The consistency will help you objectively compare one candidate to another. If you take good notes about each response a candidate gives, you will be able to refer back to your notes when making your decision. I have found that even brief notes will help me recall my impressions about the candidate. This is especially helpful if when I interview several candidates over a relatively long period of time.
The situational job interview is a great tool to help you hire the right candidate for the job. Ask the right questions, force your candidates to give you details, and consistently ask the same questions to each of your candidates. Follow these tips and you will get the most out of your situational job interviews.