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Six Questions to Ask to Speed Up Your Hiring Process

Companies need to look at ways to make their hiring processes more efficient to adapt to the changing economic reality. With more job seekers than ever before flooding the market, processes need to be streamlined to find the right people.
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Companies need to look at ways to make their hiring processes more efficient to adapt to the changing economic reality. With more job seekers than ever before flooding the market, processes need to be streamlined to find the right people. One way to do this is to speed up overall hiring. The time from application to job offer currently averages about 45 days when using a career site. This is a long time for everyone involved, especially the job seeker that's been unemployed for some time.

I'm not suggesting speeding up the hiring process will cure unemployment. However, it can make a difference by getting talented job candidates into jobs faster. Employers should seek to get to know candidates on a more personal level earlier in the process. Whether this means employing one-way video interviews or getting everyone together at once to meet the candidate, a personal connection earlier can get the right candidate in your open position sooner. Ideally this means positions can be filled and candidates can finally put aside the job hunt.

Part of getting a better personal connection is asking the right questions in the interview. Good interview questions can illuminate a candidate's personality, work history, and organizational fit.

Here are the six essential questions to ask in the video interview to speed up the hiring process, nab great candidates, and take a bite out of unemployment:

Question: Tell me about your proudest achievements at work.

Why Ask? This question is a great way to evaluate a candidate's prior work history. Instead of the usual "tell me about yourself" you're instead prompting the job seeker to tell you the best they've done on the job. This question will let you know what the candidate can do at the pinnacle of their achievement.

How to Evaluate the Answer: Look for candidates who are confident and concise in their answers. You want to know the background of their achievement and how they added value through initiative and creative thinking. If the anecdote the candidate recounts doesn't seem impressive to you, ask for context. If you're still underwhelmed, remember this is what the candidate chose as their proudest moment and evaluate what this means for their future in your company.

Question: Where do you see yourself five years from now? How will this position help you get there?

Why Ask? This question will give you insights to a candidate's organizational fit and long-term career goals. With the tough economy, many job seekers are now looking for whatever jobs they can get. This means as soon as the economic forecast brightens, they'll be leaving the position to follow their true passion. You need to know if this position is a stepping stone along a career path for your job seeker, or if it's just a way to pay the bills. This will also affect how well the candidate fits into your organization, since employees not dedicated to the position or industry are likely to be less motivated and less excited about the company's goals.

How to Evaluate the Answer: Don't just accept what the candidate tells you, but listen critically and use the candidate's work history as background. If your candidate has a vastly different background than the position, is it possible they're just saying what you want to hear? Or are they looking to switch career paths and see your company as a first step along a new road? If your candidate's career goals align with the position and your company, they'll be a good match now and for the future. If you find that things aren't a perfect fit, it's a glass-half-full situation where at least you recognized this before making an offer and scrambling to fill the position again quickly in the future.

Question: Tell me about a mistake you made and what you learned from the experience.

Why Ask? Everyone makes mistakes, even in a professional setting. The lessons we learn from these errors can be invaluable. This question can show whether your candidate has truly learned from their mistakes and used them as stepping stones to greater knowledge.

How to Evaluate the Answer: You want candidates who are going to own their mistakes, not skirt over the issues. If a candidate is getting too defensive this could be a sign of an employee not willing to own up to errors. You want a candidate to concisely explain the mistake, how the issue was fixed, and the important lesson taken away from the experience. This shows candidates are willing to face mistakes head on, an important attribute of any great employee.

Question: How do you stay current?

Why Ask? To adjust to the constantly shifting marketplace, you need employees who aren't complacent with the status quo. Your company needs employees who are always learning and growing, not staying stagnant in their knowledge. This question allows you to find out how willing a candidate is to put in the extra effort to stay up-to-date.

How to Evaluate the Answer: You'll want to look for candidates who can answer concretely on how they've continued learning in their lives and their careers. Perhaps they've taken a certification course or a training program. Even if it's just staying up-to-date on relevant industry trends, you should look for job seekers keeping tabs on the issues of the day.

Question: How would you bring value to our company?

Why Ask? This question serves to find out what candidates know about the company without directly asking. You want candidates who understand your company, it's values, and it's unique challenges. Candidates who have done proper research prior to the interview are more likely to be the detail-oriented type you need in your organization.

How to Evaluate the Answer: If a candidate has done proper research, they should be able to get specific with how their experiences can bring real value. If they seem vague or unsure, it's probably because they don't understand the company. Look for candidates able to apply their skills to specific issues in your organization.

Question: If you got this position what are the first five things you would do to add value to the company?

Why Ask? This question will help you match how well a candidate's skills match the position, and the overall company. It will also show you a candidate's drive and initiative. Are they just naming tasks from the job description or do they have ideas for how to make the position more efficient? It's a great way to discover how well they understand the current position and its challenges.

How to Evaluate the Answer: Look for job seekers who incorporate what they've learned about the company through research and back up these facts with the value their qualifications can bring to the position. If a candidate comes up with a creative idea for how to improve a process, this is a sign of an employee who can think independently with an eye towards the future.

Getting to know candidates on a more personal level is the easiest way to shorten the process and improve hiring at the same time. Companies will be reducing unemployment while at the same time finding great candidates who will truly fit both the position and the company culture.

What are some questions you ask to speed up the hiring process and find better candidates? Share in the comments!

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