Interviews are an art form that while performed on a daily basis by many, is truly mastered only by a few. Those who are able to execute a flawless interview find that they source and hire not just qualified candidates, but will be adding a component to their team that fits seamlessly into the culture and framework in place.
Integrating a new hire into your well oiled machine needs to be done carefully, asking good probing and follow up questions ensures your ability to see whether your candidate will actually fit your company culture.
While many will ask the ‘right’ questions, the key to an effective interview is the ability to listen intently while asking probing follow up questions unveiling the real candidate behind the superficial first response.
It may seem straight forward, but asking the right follow-up question can be the difference between finding a qualified candidate for a position and finding the perfect candidate for a person. Executing a more thorough interview by asking more probing follow up questions is one key to a better hire.
How to Ask Follow Up Questions
A good follow up question will build on the flow of the conversation, probing deeper into a given answer or statement from the candidate.
A great follow up question will not only gauge the experience and qualification of the candidate, but also give further insight into their personality and overall presence.
There are three key steps to asking a follow up question:
1. Listen intently: Many interviewers will listen to the candidate, but are not really engaged in the conversation. Listen to specifics and pick out key experiences, examples to follow up on.
2. Effectively Engage: With your key experiences picked out and a target in mind, you can engage your candidate. By linking your follow up question with their answers, you are engaging them and will get beneath the prepared answers and be able to view a more genuine side of the candidate.
3. Don’t settle: Was your question answered? Many candidates who are well versed in interviews will attempt to parry your question to their strengths. If your question wasn’t answered, then ask it again – ask them to be specific and use real-life examples, not ‘what if’ answers or muddled explanations.
Using these three steps to ask a follow up question will avoid getting the closed ended answer you’re looking to skip, while also setting a candidate at ease and creating an engaged interview.
The Benefits of Follow Up Questions
The benefits of asking effective follow up questions may seem straightforward, but for many it may not be that obvious.
While you may be impressed with a candidates experience and background, the key here is to identify the added qualifications or nuances differentiating the best candidate from the pack.
Asking probing follow-up questions that get to the ‘meat of the conversation’ will open up an interview and showcase the personality and style of the candidate.
It is extremely important to set them at ease, listen intently and follow up on key points – this not only sets a candidate at ease, but will show them that you as an interviewer are engaged as well. This connection will allow you to really get to know the candidate, feel out their personality and clearly screen them for the position you are attempting to fill.