When interviewing, good questions can be the difference between a hire gone wrong and a new superstar employee. By developing good questions, you can ensure that the selected candidate has the skills and attitude necessary to succeed in their new role.
Behavioral Interview Questions
Behavioral interview questions are an excellent way to draw out examples of a potential employee’s past behavior, which is helpful in predicting how they’ll handle similar situations in the future. Rather than ask “are you detail oriented,” which most people will respond yes to, ask the candidate for examples of a time that they completed a task that required a high level of accuracy and walk you through how they handled that challenge. More examples of behavioral questions include:
• Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an upset customer
• Give me an example of a project that you failed at and what did you learn from the experience
• Describe for me your most proud accomplishment in the past five years
• Tell me about a time you received negative feedback and how you addressed it
• Have you ever had to take a project on that you had no experience with? How did you handle it?
Don’t Ask These
These categories are protected classes and could open you up to a discrimination claim if discussed:
• Religion or creed
• National origin or ancestry
• Physical or mental disability
While it is not illegal to ask these questions, it is to base your hiring decision off of them, so it’s best to avoid these questions altogether.
Sometimes when you've got a lot going on, it can be hard to get organized and develop plans. For me, it can be overwhelming and lead to procrastination. One great tool to use in these scenarios is a mind map.
A mind map is essentially a way to get all your ideas out on paper without feeling the need to do so in a more rigid and structured way. For those us of that are highly analytical, this can be a game changer! Mind mapping allows you to just get everything in your brain out on paper, then use that to develop your plan of action.
So how do you mind map? Start by putting down your central idea in the middle of a sheet of paper. Then, start creating branches off of this central idea with everything related to that concept that you can think of. Don't overthink or try to organize it- just write down everything that comes to mind. For example, on an event planning mind map I might have "annual fundraiser" as my central idea, then branch off with things like food, venue, invitations, and music. Then off of each of these ideas, branch off any additional details (under food I might put entree, appetizers, drinks, open bar, etc).
I highly recommend googling mind maps and looking at some examples- there are many great ones out there! For me, doing my mind map on paper is the best way to get my ideas out, but there's also many great software out there as well for those of us who aren't paper people.
In a nutshell, emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize your own feelings, as well as how others feel, and then manage these emotions. Now, if you're like me, emotions are to be avoided in the workplace. It would be great if everyone could just do their job and go home. However, it's important to remember that your employees are people, not just capital. Emotional intelligence helps us to recognize this and adapt our behavior accordingly.
So how do you develop emotional intelligence? That's a class in itself. However, here's some basic tips to get started.
1. Know Thyself
The first step is to get to know your own personality and tendencies. You can't be aware of how you interact with others if you're not self-aware. I'm a big fan of personality assessments- with a grain of salt of course. You can't put people into nice, neat categories. However, these assessments can give you an idea of your basic tendencies. I enjoy Meyer-Briggs (I'm an INTJ) and Wired That Way (I'm a powerful with perfect tendencies). You can find free versions of these online.
2. Be Aware of Others
Once you're aware of yourself, start observing how others in your workplace behave. Maybe your admin responds well to being praised publicly, but your introverted IT guy would rather you CC his boss on an email thanking him. As you get to know others, you can modify your behavior to best relate to them and create a harmonious workplace.
3. Don't Stop Growing
Pick one area to grow your emotional intelligence and go from there. I recommend starting with a book on the topic- Daniel Goleman's text is the classic recommendation, but it can be a bit dry, so I like The Emotional Intelligence Quickbook to start. Find one area for growth and start there, then slowly add more goals.
Job interviews are stressful! However, with the proper preparation, you'll feel more confident and go in with your best foot forward.
1. Do Your Research!
Make sure you read through the job description and are familiar with what you're interviewing for. I know- this sounds silly, but I've had candidates show up with no idea about what the job description even says. Make sure you know about the company as well- browse their website and get a general idea for what they do and what their values are. Many employers will want to feel like you want to work for them, not just any job you can get. While arguably not a fair expectation, it still pays to make sure that the employer feels you're invested in them.
2. Practice, Don't Script
Look up some common interview questions and go over what your answers are to them. Write down your accomplishments and think of examples of projects you did well or customers who you went above and beyond for. The key here is getting a general idea of what you want to say, but not memorizing a script- that can sound awkward in interviews and may be off-putting to the interviewer.
3. Dress the Part
Make sure you have clothes ready, ironed, and good to go the night prior. There is nothing more stressful than finding a run in your tights or your dryer breaking the morning of the interview and having to make a panicked run to pick up new clothes. As a rule of thumb, dress one step above the normal dress for the office- so for a business casual office, dress slightly more formally. For a casual office, business casual is typically fine.