Essential Interview Questions for Recruiting and Staffing Agencies Find Top Talent by Asking the Right Questions

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1 Essential Interview Questions for Recruiting and Staffing Agencies Find Top Talent by Asking the Right Questions A Bond Operational Excellence White Paper

2 Essential Interview Questions for Recruiting and Staffing Agencies Find Top Talent by Asking the Right Questions H ow do you separate the merely good candidate from the great candidate? As companies ramp up their hiring, the pool of qualified candidates available for jobs may be shrinking. But that s why your agency got the job requisition, right? You are experts at finding just the right talent for the position. However, to deliver exceptional value, employment agencies must be highly discerning when it comes to narrowing down the list of candidates to present to a client. That means staffing companies must have specific practices in place to find the recruit who most closely matches all the qualifications the job entails both tangible and intangible. So the types of questions employment professionals ask to find the best prospect bet must cover multiple personality variables. The staffing experts who know what to ask will not only have more success with finding the right candidates across the board, they ll have a stronger reputation with their corporate clients, as well. Questions to Separate Best From The Rest You ve moved past the traditional basics work history, and job qualifications. Now the challenge becomes finding the subtle differences between an A and A+ candidate. Use these questions to separate the best prospects from the rest of the crowd: Could You Describe Your Work Style? This question can quickly illuminate how well your candidate will fit in with the company culture. Don t offer them the warning, this is a highly stressful, fast-paced environment and then ask how they would fit in. Rather, give them the open-ended opportunity to share the nuances of their unique work traits. Chances are, if they re worth their candidate salt, they ll have researched the company anyway and anticipate how to answer. Follow-up queries to this question can determine how much work they typically brought home in prior jobs, and whether they flourish in team settings or perform better on their own. Page 2

3 How Will You Add Value? To avoid the pat I ll bring a boost of creativity to the firm, response, tailor your question to cover their contributions over both the short and long haul. How specifically will they help the company accomplish its goals over the first month and through their first year? The strongest candidates will not only communicate a clearer idea of how they will fit in to the firm s strategic operations, they ll be able to share what they really believe to be their own strengths. An answer such as, Once I get onboard, I ll quickly assimilate into the team and draw upon my experience as a project manager to help accomplish the department s objectives of building sales in the Southwest shows this candidate understands the need for quick absorption into the company and also brings a confidence in their own qualifications. They re also letting you know, once again, that they ve done their interviewee homework. What s The Best Idea You ve Had? For a creative position, this question can quickly highlight those candidates that think outside the box not just in their own lives but also as invested team members. The type of best idea they give will offer insight into how this candidate thinks. Does she lean more toward processes and systems? Is she more of a tactical rather than strategic thinker? Next, you can discover how well the candidate sold her best idea to her prior employer. Were her recommendations put into place? Did management buy into her suggestions? If not, how did she handle that? This leads us to the next question. How Have You Dealt With A Difficult Colleague? While this candidate s manager may not have been a difficult personality to work with, the challenge of working with colleagues who don t buy into one s Best Ideas this is the only place we capitalize this other places we say best ideas still may affect how employees get along with supervisors and team members. Some employees take criticism more personally than others, of course, but the key when asking this question is to listen for the candidate s perspective on what made a colleague difficult. Was it a lack of respect for their input? Was it frustration with a different work style? And then beyond knowing what your candidate defined as a difficult colleague, the way they dealt with that person shows how they ll respond if the work environment isn t everything they d planned for. Did they find support within other areas of the company? If the colleague displayed sexual harassment or other inappropriate behaviors, did they go through the proper corporate channels to address the issue? Page 3

4 Could You Describe One Of Your Biggest Mistakes? A traditional ancestor of this question was What is your greatest weakness? and savvy candidates would endeavor to turn a negative question into a positive affirmation, i.e., I get over-enthusiastic when the team performs well. However the specific request to name an actual situation that demonstrated failure is one that will show how this employee will deal with the inevitable mistakes that come with every job. Did this one mistake turn into a pattern? Was it caused by a high stress or fast-paced culture? And just as importantly, how did this mistake affect their work performance moving forward? Did it cause them to be fired, or did they learn valuable lessons from the experience? What Do You Value Most In A Job? We as employees work essentially because we have to pay the bills yet the things that motivates us to higher performance or give us a sense of satisfaction reach beyond the financial aspect. Dr. Bob Nelson, author of The Top 10 Ironies of Motivation Italicize book title says, More than anything else, employees want to be valued for a job well done by those they hold in high esteem. Yet, each job candidate also has other factors that drive their passion and performance. Some candidates want to know that their work contributes to the higher good, i.e. through green objectives or community building. Others want a job that complements their lifestyle. For example, a triathlete who trains many hours a week may not want a position that demands extensive overtime. When all the variables have been established that this candidate may be the best for the job, this question can unearth the nuanced differences between a great choice and the ideal choice. Summary Finding that winning candidate from amongst many similarly qualified entrants can come down to discovering the subtle differences that set those prospects apart. Integrate insightful questions into your hiring process and you ll be more likely to find yourself in the winner s circle time and time again. Part of conducting great recruiting interviews is coming prepared with the right data about a candidate. Maintain up-to-date records on everything from their work history to your agency s contacts with a candidate with recruiting software from Bond US. Page 4

5 Presented by: Bond International Software, Inc. Copyright Bond International Software, Inc All rights reserved.

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