Tag Archives: interview process

Five Best Executive Interview Questions

Today’s blog is specific interview questions to ask when hiring for an executive level role. Executive level roles can be defined loosely in different ways, but typically, we like to think of an executive level role as a vice president or above. Depending on the structure of your company, though, this could be a director level or above, again depending on the size and structure of your company.

CHALLENGES WITH HIRING EXECUTIVES

The point is, you should know if you’re hiring for an executive position or not. Hiring for executives can come with its own set of challenges. Executive roles tend to have very common threads with the things that are important about them. Typically an executive level role has a leadership or management responsibility, and this is something that’s important to be able to interview for. An executive level role also will tend to have responsibility over strategy, and oftentimes financials, as well, and will also typically be involved with making high-level decisions that have major business consequences.

NO PARTICULAR ORDER

The following questions are not in any sort of specific order, as the order of importance could depend on what’s more important for you with this particular role. Positions are extremely custom, depending on the company. So there’s no such thing as the five best questions for executives across the board.

QUESTION #1 – OVERCOMING CHALLENGES

One question that is certainly important is to ask the candidate about challenges they’ve had in the past and how they overcame them. You want to ask the question just like that. You want to say, “Tell me about some challenges or difficulties you’ve had in your previous positions, and then tell me how you overcame those.” Asking an open-ended question like this will give you a lot of insight, depending on how the candidate answers. The candidate will be giving you insight into what they consider challenges, first and foremost. Secondly, you’ll get to see how they think and how their brain works when it comes to overcoming those challenges. This is very important when it comes to hiring somebody at an executive level.

QUESTION #2 – DAY TO DAY RESPONSIBILITIES

Another really important question to ask is to have the executive walk you through their day-to-day responsibilities over a particular period of time. You might want to ask about previous roles or just their most recent role, whatever you feel is relevant. The point is that this is going to give you insight into what their day-to-day looks like and what they have been and are responsible for and what they have a track record doing. This is extremely important because you need to be able to map their experience and their ability to do the job. This is a great way to do this. This is a much better question to ask than, “Do you have experience with digital marketing?” That’s too easy to say yes. Have someone walk you through their day-to-day and be as detailed as possible.

QUESTION #3 – LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT

Another great question to ask the candidate is about their leadership and management style. You can first see how they describe themselves as a leader or a manager. Then you can ask them for examples. Maybe an example of how they impacted a winning team, or an example of how they turned around a losing team, or something of that nature. But what you want them to do is to give you examples of how they’ve applied their leadership and management style and what the outcome was.

QUESTION #4 – GAME PLAN

Another critical question that you can ask, and that we recommend with all executive hires as a part of the interview process, is to have that person put together a 30, 60 and 90 day plan of what they’re going to do in their first quarter at the job. You may need to provide them with certain information to do this, but this can be an extremely useful exercise, and will give you some real insight into what to expect when this person comes in on the job. Interviews need to go much further beyond how you feel about a person and how they answer questions. They need to go into and give you as much information on how somebody would actually execute the responsibilities of the job. This is a really great way to do that.

QUESTION #5 – CULTURE

A final critical question that we recommend be involved with all executive hires, and really all hires for that matter, is to talk to them about culture. You should have a defined company culture that includes core values, a mission statement and anything else that truly outlines the culture and personality of your company and of your brand. There should be a discussion as part of the interview around what this is. Allow the candidate to ask questions. Ask them questions. Find out how they feel about your company and your culture. Find out how they see themselves fitting in and how they would enrich and add to that culture. Hiring for culture-fit is one of the most challenging things. Someone who checks all the boxes from a technical perspective that doesn’t fit in from a cultural perspective is never going to last. So it’s important to have this as part of your interview process.

CONCLUSION

The five above questions will give you a ton of insight into someone’s ability to be able to do your job, as well as how they would fit into the company. Combining them with potentially other technical questions and maybe other specifics about the job are going to give you a really powerful insight into whether this person would or would not be a fit for the role. If you’re able to apply these questions across multiple candidates, you’re truly going to be able to tell who’s the best fit. As a side note, we recommend using personality assessments, like the DISC assessment, as a supplemental piece to your interview process. These can help give some other insight into how people would handle the job.

Best of luck!

Looking for more questions to ask? Try these: https://bit.ly/2MRlpt7

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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/