By Robert G. Epstein, Career Bank
There are certain questions in an interview that make sense. And then there are the questions that make a difference.
When an employer sits down to talk with a potential employee, there are critical pieces of information that they should walk away with from that meeting. Asking the basic questions—past employers, professional goals, accomplishments—is a given. It’s the next level of questioning that gets to the candidate’s true potential.
Next time you prepare for an interview, keep these questions in mind:
- Why did the candidate leave his or her most recent position?
- Are their gaps in the resume? What did the candidate do during those periods of time?
- What is the candidate’s salary history?
- What have the candidate’s typical commute times been in the past?
- Why does the candidate want to work at your company?
- What are the candidates’ expectations for the job?
- What are the candidate’s compensation expectations?
- How does your company compare to the other organizations the candidate is meeting with?
What the Answers Mean
Once you’ve spoken with a candidate for the first time, you should have a pretty good understanding of their professional persona if you’ve asked the right questions.
An employer wants to walk away from an interview being able to generally judge the following traits:
- Team player or individual?
- Leader or follower?
- Worker or slacker?
- Ethical or dishonest?
- Loyal or disloyal?
The Second/Final Interview
After an initial interview, employers will usually have a good idea of which candidates truly interest them and would make a good match on the team. It’s during a final interview that new goals come to mind, and putting your company in a good light is crucial. Now it’s time to:
- Gauge the actual interest that the candidate has in your position.
- Learn about the other companies you will compete with to hire this candidate.
- Discuss additional opportunities, challenges and rewards the position may offer.
- Gather and check reference information.
- Begin salary negotiations.
It’s important for employers to be prepared for interviews with scripted questions that will help them learn the important facts about a candidate as well as promote their company. Finding a match for your organization is about more than past experience and salary requirements. It’s about personality, goals and professionalism. Judging these qualities often requires more than the standard list of interview questions. With the right questions, an employer can find the best candidates and be confident in their hiring decisions. With the right candidate, an employer can be confident that their hire will improve the total potential of their company.
Robert G. Epstein, CPA, is the President and CEO and one of the orginal founders of CareerBank.com. He is a certified public accountant with more than 15 years of experience in the accounting profession and accounting/finance career placement industry. Robert writes articles covering the accounting industry, career development and staffing. He has been interviewed by CNN.com, Reuters, Accounting Today, Business Finance Magazine, Practical Accountant and many other leading business publications and news services.