Beauty of this website is that as an interviewer you don’t have to invent any new interview questions, you can just go into various questions and pick the questions that are most important for you. However, there are some important things that you will be looking out for in an interview from the candidate. While each job is different so are it’s requirements, we have, however, boiled down the FIVE basic things that you need to look for in a candidate.
Note that the below attributes are not in any order, they are all the primary things you will be looking for in a candidate.
1. Demeanor: How serious a candidate is about the job shows in how well, within his/her capability, he/she shows up at the interview.
2. Education: Since most freshets’ do not have prior experience, you will be looking into their educational credentials, including the grades they got (look for consistency too), the projects one got involved in, the role of involvement in the projects, all these tell you a lot about the candidate.
3. Extra-curricular activities: Does the candidate play any games? Does the candidate have any active association with organizations (charity and/or service)? Did the candidate take up responsible role in their college?
4. Integrity: This is a tricky one. It is difficult to assess the integrity of the candidate within 20-30 minute interview timeframe, but it can be done. The technique that will let you do this is the same technique that they use in the competitive exams, cross marking system. The way it works is, candidate is asked a question related to a topic and there will be another question related to that same topic, worded differently. If the candidate knows the topic well, we will get both questions right and get points for both. If the candidate was taking a chance on first one, the chances are he/she will get the cross question wrong, thus losing points on both. The way to apply this technique to interview is, say you ask the candidate at the beginning what he/she does during the spare time and candidate says ‘he/she likes to stay home and watch TV’. Later during the interview, you ask about the hobbies and the candidate says he/she likes outdoor games, you can notice a slight contradiction. If the candidate says ‘he/she likes indoor games’, this is in congruence with how he/she spends his/her spare time. This does not rule out the candidature but these questions help build an impression.
Applying the same logic, say you ask about how they executed their last college project and the candidate gives the impression of being an independent warrior. Later you ask his/her opinion about how he/she handles a difficult task and the answer is “I will take help of my friends or something in those lines”, again the congruence in response is in question.
5. Impression: The demeanor, education qualifications and the responses to your questions are all aimed at one thing: forming an impression. Keep the impression score card for your own reference (see below table), it need not be anything formal but something that you keep checking during the interview. Something as simple as below will work too.
Based on the responses to numerous questions you ask and the time spent with the candidate, you will be marking the level of impression in each area (you can add/edit these areas based on the specifics of the job profile), this will help you form an overall impression. Consider the fact that candidate maybe nervous (since they are freshers’) and that a ‘good’ performance in all areas (consistency) is far better than impressions all over the place.
For the experienced candidate, you will be looking for experience instead of education and achievements instead of extra-curricular activities (although achievements in extra-curricular activities also need to be considered). Other 3 areas, demeanor, integrity and impression still hold true for experienced candidate.
1. Experience: It is difficult to get to know about everything that candidate has done during their previous jobs; however, you are looking for answers to the following areas about experience of the candidate.
- Is the candidate’s prior experience genuine and easily verifiable?
- Is the experience relevant to the job being interviewed for?
- Does the candidate seem flexible in his/her approach to a given task (i.e., welcomes new ways of doing the old job)?
- Does the candidate appreciate the work setting you have (working in a team or independently, depending on the job)?
As you notice, all of the above questions are ‘yes/no’. However, these are derivative conclusions, that is, your impression based on the candidate’s response. You will never ask a candidate whether his/her experience is genuine, however, you may ask ‘if we decide to offer you this job, we will need to do a background check, we may have to contact your project manager as a part of background check, would that be ok with you?’.
Always rely on behavioral based questions to let the candidate speak about their experience and their perspective, so that you can evaluate the suitability. Try to avoid ‘yes/no’ questions.
2. Achievements: there will be many things that people are proud of and want to talk about, especially when it comes to jobs/experience. Give this opportunity to your candidate.
What achievements are you most proud of from your current or previous jobs? Tell me about it. Have you been recognized, officially, for your performance in your current/previous jobs? Tell me about it.
These questions give you the idea about how dedicated/creative the candidate is.
When everything is said and done, it is all about the ‘overall’ impression you form about the candidate when it comes to the job interview. It only makes sense that your impression is derived from a design rather than guess work, facts rather than prejudices. And first step toward achieving that is to check for the areas described here and anything that is most important for your company and the role that you are interviewing for.