Is There a Guide to Writing the Best Interview Questions?

We asked James Gardner, Head of Talent Acquisition at Planday what his best advice was when it comes to interviewing. Is there a guide to writing key questions? 

Interviewing a candidate for job opening

No Right or Wrong 

The answer can be multi-faceted and can be taken in several different directions. There is no guide. There’s no quintessential right answer to ask. What you need to have is structure for the interview. It must be preplanned. It’s important to first consider the skillset you’re looking to bring into the organization. Then draw from that.

Demonstrate Experience

Searching for the right candidate online

You should actively be aware of not leading the candidate on. Asking close-ended or leading questions serves no one. Instead, consider asking open-ended questions. This forces people to demonstrate their experience and capability in innovative ways – rather. 

Never lead a candidate with info you are trying to elicit. Always ask them to show where they have delivered the skill or character trait you’re looking to bring into the business. It’s about illustrating ability and the more they do so, the easier it will be to detect their talents.

Interview in Action

One prime example at Planday is how we look at sales. There are five core competencies we have derived to gauge sales candidates. Some key cases include the notion of “Clockspeed.” This is where we look at the job seeker’s ability to take a complex situation, fully understand it, and provide feedback or a solution. 

Another key competency that is vital to our organization is listening skills. We use an online questionnaire that gives insight into this trait. It will look at competency, value, and then rate the candidate on a scale of 1-5 based on their listening abilities. 

Each interview is different in terms of functional skill set. Most of the time it all depends on your interaction with the interviewee. You can then adjust your questioning accordingly. 

Cultural Fit

Choosing the right candidates

As we grow, it’s important to retain culture. If we don’t, we will quickly see our secret sauce diminish. That’s why, even when someone is a perfect fit skill-wise, it may never work if they are ill-fitting to the company culture. 

We put huge amounts of cultural fit in our hiring process. We typically know right away if it is not the environment for a certain candidate. We decline people who may be strong in most disciplines if they don’t fit with us culturally and socially.

Continuous Improvement

Hiring the right people is also about creating an environment of continuous improvement. When you further hire new highly talented individuals, they help drive the capability of all other people in your teams. We have a human culture that’s commercially driven. We look after our people because we want them to enjoy working here, and then the word spreads to the market. It’s all tied in together. 

The biggest differentiator of Planday is that there is such a focus on culture. This is a positive aspect because it naturally drives the talent barometer. But we’re also a product-based business, so if the platform doesn’t work, no matter how good you can sell it, you will not be successful. It’s a matter of juggling the two priorities and keeping it all flowing along together, in the right direction.

Final Thoughts

There is no real guide to asking the right questions. It’s always based on the individual and the specific needs of the organisation or team you are hiring for. You must enable candidates to demonstrate they have the skillset to advance where we are as a business. At the very least, to affect positivity based on their level of seniority. 

Ultimately, you need to understand how an individual will positively, or negatively, effect the brand before you hire them. To hire the top talent you need, you need to understand .


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