Tag Archives: hiring process

How To Write Interview Questions

Writing interview questions and doing the prep work regarding how to interview for any particular position is some of the most critical prep work when it comes to hiring the right talent for your role. Most bad hires are a function of one of a few different things. Either you have a bad set of interview questions that don’t flesh out whether or not the candidate is the right fit, or you have an interviewer who doesn’t know how to ask the right questions, or how to read responses from a prospective employees.

Interviewing truly is an art, and it is an art that most people don’t take seriously enough. Most hiring managers, or anybody in a hiring position, don’t have any formal interview training. Therefore, you end up with a lot of people in management positions who are interviewing, and basically winging it. This can cause a lot of problems, both with hiring individuals in that team, but also organizationally across your company. If you have multiple department heads conducting completely different types of interviews, you’re going to run into trouble when it comes to hiring a cohesive team that is all going to fit together.

CRAFTING YOUR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

So, that is a topic really for another blog, when it comes to the best way to set up your organization to interview and hire effectively. And that will have to be something that we cover in a different post. For now, we want to focus on tips on how to write and craft your interview questions in order to be the most effective. Making a bad hire is one of the most costly mistakes you could make for your company and for your team. On average, a bad hire is going to cost you about $20,000. That is a major expense that needs to be avoided at all costs.

The key to writing good interview questions starts with having a solid job description. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here on how to write job descriptions, as we have many previous posts on writing job descriptions. So, if you don’t have a solid job description for your position yet, that is where you want to start before you even think about what kinds of interview questions you’re going to have. Check out some of our previous blogs on how to write job descriptions for specific positions. If you don’t see your specific position, don’t worry, the posts tend to be very universal in many aspects, so take as much information as you can and write up a solid job description.

CREATING A FOUNDATION FOR YOUR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Once you have a solid job description, you’re going to want to use that job description as a foundation to craft your interview questions. The must haves and the nice to haves, as well as the position description, are going to be the key pieces that you’re going to want to craft your interview questions around. It’s important to remember that an interview goes both ways, so you want part of your interview to be an opportunity for the candidate to ask questions, and to learn and gain information about the company, the culture, et cetera.

You’ll want to make sure too that you have part of your interview as an introduction to your company. In other words, an introduction to what you do, your products and/or your services, how you’re different in the market, as well as topics like what your culture is like, what some of your benefits look like, what are some of the perks, and why someone would want to work for you.

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

These selling points are all extremely critical when it comes to the interview process, so it’s important that you have those worked in around your interview questions themselves. Now, when it comes to crafting interview questions, the most important thing is that your questions don’t lead the witness. I say this a lot in other blogs, and in other places that I’m writing and speaking, that the biggest mistake interviewers make is they lead the witness. In other words, they ask questions that are too easy to answer yes or no to, or they ask questions that contain the answer within the question.

So, asking somebody something like, “Do you have a lot of experience working in digital marketing social media campaigns.” Someone’s easily going to say, “Yes, I have a lot of experience working in digital social media marketing campaigns.” You’ve got to craft your questions in a way that leaves things open ended, so that the answer is going to be one where your candidate has to answer from their experience and their background so that you get a clear picture of their experience.

So, a better question is something like, “Tell me about the last five projects that you worked on, and what those looked like on a day to day basis for you.” And then even going further into saying, “Great, tell me some of the challenges that you had with those projects, and what did you do to overcome them?” Or you can ask something like, “Tell me about the kinds of technologies you’ve worked with recently. What technologies are you strongest working in?”

And then as they answer those questions, you are listening for if their background and their experience match up with what you’re looking for. So, being able to craft questions that tease out what someone’s background is, is important. This is also critical when it comes to finding out about someone’s cultural and personality traits. You don’t ask somebody, “Are you hard working?” You don’t ask somebody, “Do you do well under pressure?” What you ask somebody is something along the lines of, “What is your ideal work environment?” Or you can ask somebody, “What did you like about the culture in your last company, and what didn’t you like about the culture in your last company?”

SETTING THE STAGE FOR YOUR INTERVIEWS

So, as a little side note here, one of the things I always recommend in an interview is to set someone up to be able to answer questions honestly. People walk into an interview and their ultimate goal is they want to get the job. So they’re already pre-programmed to tell you what you want to hear so that they get the job. In other words, people are always trying to give you the right answer. It’s part of human nature.

So, what you want to do is set the stage with folks early on in the interview so that they can answer honestly to see if it’s a good fit for both parties. So, saying something like, “Hey, look, I know you’re interested in this job and you want to make sure this interview goes well. And so do I, but the last thing either of us wants would be for you to work here and it ends up not being a good fit for you. So, feel free to answer questions in this interview honestly. Don’t feel like you have to tell me the answer that I want to hear. I want to know the honest truth, and you should be able to tell me the honest truth, so that we can both gauge if this is a good fit for us.”

Setting the stage like that with somebody is going to give them a lot of freedom to answer questions honestly, so that both you and them can gauge true fit.

CONCLUSION

So, this is a brief insight into how to write interview questions in a way that truly allows you to find the right talent. If you’re able to incorporate this into your team and across your organization, you have the beginnings of a solid foundation for interviewing.

Here are some more great tips for writing your interview questions: https://bit.ly/2QH3MSh

Have questions or want to find out about working with us? Let’s chat! 

How Long Is The Hiring Process?

 

This is an important and very commonly asked question, although it doesn’t have as simple of an answer as you might think.

A simple Google search and you will find all sorts of answers ranging from 20 days up to 45 days.

The problem is many of these statistics are including different types of industries and professionals.

For this reason you won’t get a real clear picture for what you’re looking for.

The average time to hire a person varies greatly depending on many factors.

This includes the type of job, the industry, the candidate, special skills needed and other variables.

All of these things that can significantly increase or decrease the time it takes to hire the right person.

The hiring process is made up of several pieces including sourcing, the actual interview itself, final stages, due diligence and references.

Depending on how your company has things scheduled or how your team has things structured, this also very greatly affects the interview process.

The question I hear quite often is not just how long is the hiring process, but really how fast can I hire someone.

We all want to be able to hire good talent as fast as humanly possible.

FOCUS ON HIGH QUALITY TALENT

I recommend that hiring the right talent be your key focus rather than speed.

You don’t want your interview process to be too long or too short.

Too short and you may risk hiring the wrong person because you didn’t do your due diligence.

Too long and you risk losing good candidates in the process.

In 2017 the average length of hiring processes in the US, according to glassdoor was 23.8 days, which was slightly higher than 2014.

Again this can differ from company to company and throughout industry.

As recruiters here at Aldebaran Recruiting our average is between 30 to 45 days.

This is above the glassdoor average but there also is a different level of care that goes into the work that we do.

Working with a recruiter will likely take a little bit longer if the recruiter is doing their due diligence to find the right person.

The work the recruiter is doing in someway supplements and adds on to the work that you were already doing.

VARYING TIMELINES FOR FILLING A ROLE

If we look at the time it takes to hire within different industries in the US things vary greatly.

The very fastest we have seen is in construction which takes an average of 12.7 days to hire.

On the other end of the spectrum, health services roles take an average of 49 days to hire.

That is a large delta, basically 13 to 50 days.

If we look at professional business services roles, such as a lot of the white-collar jobs of the US, those are right in the middle around 26 days.

As a good rule of thumb I would say 30 days is a good average for the amount of time it should take for you to fill a position.

You can count a little bit longer if your role requires some sort of specific skills and talents.

EXAMINE YOUR HIRING PROCESS

It’s important that you actually examine the time it takes in different aspects of your hiring process.

You want to look at how time is being spent bringing candidates in for first, second, third, etc. round interviews.

This is a place where you can often find time to cut in your hiring process and speed things up.

As written in other blogs, I’m a big proponent of having your hiring and interview process be streamlined and efficient.

This is often the place where clients and companies make the biggest mistake.

They make candidates stay with your interview process and it becomes cumbersome.

RECRUITING AND SOURCING

You may have that part dialed in and the front of the funnel may be suffering.

Here is the actual sourcing and recruiting side of the process or we also call that acquisition.

This is the part where you’re actually attracting qualified candidates for your position.

This is the place where most of our clients have troubles and why they hire a headhunter like us.

They get complaints that they’re not having qualified submissions come through on their website.

They complain that their job is posted on all of the job boards but that the people that are applying for the job boards are low-quality.

This is becoming extremely common in the market.

It’s becoming less and less likely that the right talent for your company would find you on their own.

You’ve got to find ways to be proactive to get your company and your name out to the right people.

And then you want to be able to move them through a streamlined interview process.

This is the number one place where you’re going to speed up your hiring process.

The more niche or specialized, and the more competitive your industry, your company or your market, the longer your hiring process will likely be.

This is going to make the biggest difference in terms of you being able to hire people quickly.

HAVING A STREAMLINED AND EFFICIENT PROCESS

What’s more important is ensuring you have a streamlined and efficient process to find you the best talent that you can hire in the fastest way possible.

Shooting for a 30 to 45 day window is a good goal, but don’t beat yourself up if you end up going a little bit longer.

Especially if you have some type of specialized talent that you’re looking for.

Or conversely if you have something extremely simple, you should be holding yourself to have it be faster.

The key here is to pay attention to your interview and sourcing process. 

These are the places where you have the most control over being able to streamline your process into something that is really workable.

At the end of the day, if your interview process is taking too long or it’s taking too long for you to hire talent this most likely where the issue is.

The front of the funnel is the trickiest part when it comes to recruiting.

Being able to find the right talent and getting them right at the start moving through your interview process.

THE NUMBERS GAME

Here at Aldebaran we talk to between 100 to 200 people in order to show our clients one single good resume for a position.

100 to 200 is a lot of people to be reaching out to and communicating with in order to produce one solid resume.

And we are extremely streamlined and laser focused on what we do.

Anybody using less extremely focused tactics will likely have to talk to three or 400 people before producing a good resume.

This upfront work needs to be streamlined and it needs to have the time in reality to be able to produce a result.

Without that sheer volume being put in the front of the sourcing funnel it’s going to be a slower experience.

If we were only working incoming submissions there are many jobs that may simply never get filled.

Having a proactive outbound recruiting strategy is the number one thing to speed up your process and attract the right people.

CONCLUSION

The real question is not, “how long is the interview or hiring process?”

The real question is, “how do I speed up my hiring process?”

The points in this blog are going to give you a big advantage.

You must put the work in to create a good front of the funnel strategy and put the work in to streamline your interview process.

If you do these things so you can turn your company into a rockstar team and really take things to the next level.


Still piecing together your hiring process? This could help: https://bit.ly/2U8SBzI


Have questions or want to hire us to speed up your process? Let’s chat! 

https://aldebaranrecruiting.com/looking-for-talent/

 

Top 5 Best Biotech Interview Questions

When hiring in the life sciences industry, there is a specific strategy and specific interview questions you’ll want to ask prospective candidates.

This is important to ensure that you interview and hire the right types of candidates.

This could include the areas of biotech, pharmaceutical and healthcare.

This article will be geared toward hiring in this industry in general, mostly in the marketing, sales and public relations area of things.

Obviously hiring anybody in the sciences capacity, or what we would call a technical capacity, is going to be a little bit different.

In any case though, you can apply these principles when hiring across different segments and types of professionals in the industry.

Regardless of the position, it’s critical that you form your five best questions to ensure that you have a clear picture of what you need.

You want to be clear whether this role is going to be more marketing, public relations, investor relations or sales focused.

Either way at the end of the day it’s important to have a good starting point.

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

Like I talk about in other blogs, the most important thing with any type of interview question is that you don’t lead the witness.

This is the biggest mistake interviewers make by asking simple questions that are too easy for candidates to answer.

You don’t want to give the candidate too much of a direction in terms of how to answer your questions.

You want your interview questions designed to get an answer that truly tests or checks in about their candidate experience.

For example, asking something like, “do you have experience marketing pharmaceutical brands?”

This question is leading the witness as it already tells me how to answer it.

It’s too easy for the interviewee to answer the question and figure out what you want to hear versus really understanding their experience.

QUESTION #1

A better way to ask the question, “tell me about the different types of clients or brands that you have experience working with.”

Asking the question this way leaves it open so that the candidate has to answer from their experience.

They have to tell you the types of brands, the types of clients or the types of products that they have worked with.

So again, it’s critical to ask open ended questions so that the candidate will tell you about their client and/or brand experience.

You’re also going to want to know the types of customers and products that they are used to working with.

You want to hear it from them without you giving them a jumping off point.

QUESTION #2

A second critical question is whether or not the candidate has experience working with direct consumer or working with healthcare practitioners.

You don’t want to ask, “do you have experience with direct to consumer” or “do you have experience working with healthcare professionals?”

That’s too easy of a question to answer with a yes or a no and of course they’re going to answer with what you want to hear.

If it’s a sales role, you can ask something like, “tell me about who you were selling to.”

That should elicit a response that will tell you if they were selling more direct to consumer or to healthcare practitioners or a combination of both.

The more clear you are about what you need in the position the better you will know if their experience is a match.

QUESTION #3

Another critical question is designed so that you learn about the types of projects, campaigns, etc. the candidate has experience with.

Do not ask, “do you have experience working with social media” or do you have experience with search engine optimization?”

These questions lead to witness and are easy to answer yes to.

Remember to ask open ended questions like, “tell me about the types of campaigns or projects you have experience working on.”

Have them tell you about their day-to-day.

It is critical for you to hear what their day looks like and to understand the types of campaigns and projects they have experience with.

QUESTION #4

The next question will gauge and determine what type of leadership or mentorship experience the candidate has or doesn’t have.

Depending on the role that you’re filling it may be important this person has management experience.

Or maybe it’s more important that they have hands-on tactical execution experience.

Do not ask a question like, “would you consider yourself hands off” or “would you consider yourself a strong leader?”

These these questions are too easy to just answer yes or no.

You do want to ask, “tell me about your tactical hands-on experience” or “tell me about your managerial experience.”

You could also ask, “tell me what your day looks like” or “tell me what percentage your managing others is hands-on.”

The point is to continue to ask open ended questions which has them tell you what their day-to-day looks like.

You want to hear their managerial and tactical hands-on experience so you know whether they’re a fit for the role that you’re filling.

QUESTION #5

The final important question on list is about salary.

Nowadays asking about salary is tricky because in certain states you can no longer legally ask for salary history.

If you are able to ask what someone’s most recent salary is, that’s a critical question.

If you can legally ask their most recent compensation was, both base and any incentives and benefits.

It’s important early on to find out what someone’s compensation expectations are.

You want to be sure that you’re in the ballpark when it comes to your budget before getting too far down the line.

This could end up being a huge waste of time if their expectations aren’t in your budget.

If you’re not able to directly ask about someone’s compensation you might have to figure out ways to learn what makes sense.

I like asking things like, “what makes sense for you in terms of salary for your next role?”

Or “what is a logical progression for you from your current salary to your next salary?”

You want to ask questions in a way that has a candidate think about what makes sense rather than just from what they would like.

Everybody wants to get paid a ton of money!

Candidates tend to think they can just ask for whatever salary they want and get it.

Asking them in a way that has them think from what’s logical, what’s fair and what makes sense is going to be much better.

This is going to give you a realistic number rather than a pie in the sky number that could shut things down.

CONCLUSION

These five questions are not as important as your contract, but more important in terms of the way that you ask them.

You want to ask open ended questions that don’t lead the witness.

Apply these principles and you will go along way to improve your interview process!


Looking for more great interview questions to add to your list? Here are some great ideas! https://muse.cm/1hLMaHT


Have questions or want to find out about working with us? Let’s chat! 

https://aldebaranrecruiting.com/looking-for-talent/

How To Decide Who To Hire

Hiring the right talent for your company and your team is critical for anyone interested in growing and scaling their company, team, or organization.

THE COST OF A BAD HIRE

Making a bad hire can have drastic consequences, not only financially but also to team morale and overall company health.

A bad hire is not only a major inconvenience, but it can also cost thousands of dollars.

The average price to replace a millennial that was a bad hire is over $20,000.

Do this too many times and you could see yourself out of business very quickly.

AVOIDING MAKING BAD HIRES

It’s more important than ever to make sure that you have the correct processes, structures, and procedures in place to ensure that you make the right hires.

Sometimes you may end up with more than one great candidate for a particular role and it may be challenging to decide who’s the best fit.

Without the proper structures and processes in place, you will leave yourself vulnerable to making these costly mistakes.

It’s worth the time and effort needed to put these measures in place and to lower your risk of making a bad hire.

DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER

First and foremost, one of the things that we make sure to do here at Aldebaran is to never judge a book by its cover.

Deciding who to interview based on a resume is critical.

You obviously don’t want to interview people that don’t look like they have the requirements for the job.

But you also don’t want to put too much stock in a resume.

Keep in mind people have varying skills at writing resumes and a resume is not fully representational of a person.

You have to be able to see through the resume in order to be able to decide who the best people are to talk to.

Often times a resume will leave you with more questions than answers.

You want to make sure you aren’t bringing too many preconceived notions to the picture.

ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

Your interview process is going to be the most important thing when it comes to hiring the right talent.

The number one mistake interviewers tend to make in interviews is they lead the witness.

In other words, they ask questions that are too simple to be answered with a yes or no question.

It’s important that you don’t make it too easy for a candidate to tell you what you want to hear.

Interviewers often ask questions like, “have you worked on digital marketing campaigns before?” That is an easy yes for anybody.

People tend to tell you what they think you want to hear to be as strategic as possible when it comes to getting the job.

You have to form your interview questions in a way that teases out the answers that you want.

Don’t ask, “do you work on digital marketing campaigns?”

Instead ask, “tell me about the types of campaigns that you’ve worked on?”

Don’t ask, “do you work well in a fast-paced environment?”

Instead ask, “tell me your ideal work environment and what type of environment would you say that you thrive in?”

You want to have them go into as much detail as possible.

OPEN COMMUNICATION AND FULL DISCLOSURE

Often it’s important to open the communication and invite candidates to be honest with you.

We are very conditioned to tell people in an interview what we think they want to hear.

It’s your job as the interviewer to be straight with your candidates.

Let them know that neither of you wants to work together if it’s not the right fit.

Give them full disclosure that you’re going to ask questions and they should be as honest as possible so that you can both gauge if it’s the right fit.

That kind of transparency is critical when actually getting to the core and asking people questions.

INTERVIEWING AND HIRING FOR CULTURE

Another critical aspect that you need to be able to interview for his culture.

Culture is key and tends to be more important than hard skills.

If you get the right person that fits with your culture, you can teach them certain things and fill certain gaps much easier.

The first step to interviewing for culture is having a well-defined culture in your company.

If your company doesn’t have a well defined culture that is present and alive with your employees, then there’s no way you can interview for it.

If you do have a well defined culture in place then you should have core values and a core focus that you can interview people for.

You can ask people what kind of culture is best for them. 

You can ask for examples of problems that they’ve solved or challenges they’ve had in the past.

And ask for examples of things that they like and don’t like with current or previous companies.

We also recommend after those questions that you go over your core values and culture with them.

You want to tell them what the expectations would be inside the culture and core values.

Then they can make the decision for themselves whether or not the culture is the right fit for them.

TESTING YOUR CANDIDATES

Many employees come in to a job and are surprised by things they should have been informed about during the interview process.

You don’t want employees to be surprised by the hard skills required of the job or the culture of your company.

It’s critical from a hard skills perspective that you figure out a way to test your candidates that come through.

This can be simple with technical roles because you can do coding tests and reprogramming tests. 

It can get a little bit more tricky with people in marketing and client services.

With somebody who is a creative, it’s a good idea to give them a writing test and of course to look at previous samples of their work.

For someone who is more of a campaign person, you may have them do a mock campaign, project or presentation.

The bottom line is you want some way to test and see how they would do the job that you would be hiring them for.

You cannot take people solely on their word.

You need to be able to see it and have it be part of your interview process.

REFERENCE CHECKS?

Reference checks are becoming a thing of the past, are becoming less and less relevant and not the best use of time in today’s fast-moving market.

The reason being is that no one is ever going to give somebody a bad reference.

Where a reference can come in use is if you’ve got two candidates and you can’t decide between who to hire.

Then you can check references on them both to see if one of them is more glowing or better than the other. 

That is the only time we recommend doing reference checks.

If you’re on the fence about hiring someone this could be another possible scenario for doing reference checks.

You can speak to their previous supervisor and ask candidly about your concerns with this person.

These conversations need to be done correctly though so that you can level with that person and get accurate answers about your concerns.

Some references are going to be more honest with you and some will just be more ingratiating with their candidate.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HAVE A TOSS UP

At the end of the day, if you need to decide between two candidates in terms of who’s going to be the best fit then we recommend you look more at culture.

They likely have similar hard skills so you should talk with your team about who is going to be the best long-term fit for the company.

You want to figure out who is going to fit in best with your group and who is going to be the embodiment of your core values, etc.

Bottom line is that the best culture fit is going to be more important and the harder thing to find. 

IN CONCLUSION

Incorporating these tips into your interview and hiring process will go a long way in hiring the right people.

We recommend having your interview process be a standard process that all candidates go through and that it be the same for everybody.

Standardized process allows for you to make changes if needed and it’s critical that you are constantly looking to learn and grow.

Happy hunting!


Want more tips on refining your interview process? Check this out: https://bit.ly/2CjHtWP


Have questions or want to find out about working with us? Let’s chat! 

https://aldebaranrecruiting.com/looking-for-talent/