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Asking the right interview questions

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Hiring managers who ask the right questions during an interview can suss out the candidate with the “best fit” for their organisation.

“Interview questions should always be tied back to the competency of the role,” Paul Endacott, Singapore’s managing director for recruitment firm Ambition, said. He shared that asking competency-based questions can help recruiters narrow down their candidate choices, therefore helping them make better hires. This means the questions should relate to previous experience the candidates have had which can enable them to add value in the job.

Endacott advised hiring managers to talk candidates through specific scenarios, such as past situations and challenges they have faced, and the actions they took to overcome them. He said this would then give employers a much better understanding of the interviewee.

For example, competency-based questions could include, “Give me an example of where you have had to drive a change project in your current role, and what were the difficulties faced?” or “Are you a self starter? Give examples to demonstrate this.”

It is also important to ensure the candidate fits the company’s culture, even if they have the right technical skills. Finding out the types of people the candidate enjoys or finds difficult to work with can further help recruiters assess if they would be a good fit.

“Understanding what the candidate is looking for, what their expectations are, and where they see their career going in the long term can help identify if this going to be the right career path for him,” Endacott said.

After all, the wrong culture fit might result in the employee leaving which then leads back to the issue of attrition costs. A study in the US found that “turnover costs for a manager average 150% of salary, including real costs of hiring… and intangible costs such as the new worker’s inefficiency and lost productivity while the job is vacant”.

“That’s a considerable investment,” Endacott said. He added that aside from costs, attrition rates are affected by the shallow local talent pool, which makes it harder to find the right people for a job.

To hear more of what Endacott has to say about recruitment trends and the qualities companies are looking for in candidates these days, click here.



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