The Perfect Number of Interview Questions to Ask a Candidate

Asking the right number of interview questions.When it comes to finding the right fit, many hiring managers wind up asking too many interview questions. They worry that by not doing so, they won’t be able to make an informed decision.

But asking too many interview questions can be damaging. It can hurt your relationship with the candidate and extend the time it takes to interview, which can cause top applicants to lose interest. In the worst cases, asking extra questions doesn’t lead to more information, because they’re not the right questions.

How do you decide which ones to ask in an interview – and how many of them to ask? Here’s where to start.

Consider what you need to know.

Every hiring manager would love an interview question that revealed every detail they needed – but no hiring manager has yet devised a foolproof way to get that information. Instead, crafting the right set of interview questions demands individual attention to the job description and candidate.

Before each interview, make a list. What information is essential to help you compare candidates, what is “helpful but not essential,” and what is superfluous? The job description and the candidate’s application materials can help you make this decision.

Craft questions that address more than one topic at a time.

Behavioral interview questions are an ideal tool to dig into more than one facet of the candidate’s skills and approach without asking more than one question. Behavioral interview questions ask the candidate to describe their own responses to a past situation. For instance, such questions be, “When have you failed in the past?” or “Tell me about a time you used X skill to get results.”

Then, listen to the candidate. The way they approach this question, the information provided and its organization can help you determine not only how the candidate is likely to perform in the future, but how they organize, communicate and consider information and experiences.

Talk to your recruiter.

Staffing firms specialize in helping their clients improve every aspect of the hiring process, from finding better candidates to conducting better interviews. Your recruiter can help you screen your current interview questions and craft a set that reveals the information you need without overwhelming you or the candidate.

At TERRA Staffing, our recruiters can help you screen for quality candidates, so your interview can focus on choosing the person who offers the best fit with your existing team. Contact us today to learn more about our recruitment services in Phoenix, Seattle and Portland.

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