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When Hiring, Ask Detailed Questions

Hiring searches typically have the same generic questions floated to the candidate. As time goes on, these questions are easy to manipulate by the candidate, who expects them, and ends up being able to prepare for them. This doesn’t help the search committee or hiring manager at all, especially when they are looking for originality in response.

I’m a big proponent of asking job specific questions to any candidate. After all, they are going to have to actually perform specific tasks. It seems reasonable that expecting them to know about those duties and how they meet those challenges would be a no-brainer.

Take a sales job for example:

Why do we care if a candidate has a five-year personal plan?

Shouldn’t we can about what the candidate knows how to sell, if that’s what’s required of them?

Yet, this is unorthodox to offer that approach, especially in higher education. The problematic nature of avoiding hard, blunt questions specific to the job description is that never provides serious answers. It also confuses each candidate within the job search, making it harder to separate those candidates who present generic but decent answers with those who really know what they are talking about.

Job candidates can tell you a lot about themselves simply by being allowed to talk. This means beyond the open-ended questions, but also silence, and waiting for them to fill in the games. Often, they will let their guard down and present to you an environmental study on who they are as a person.

This happens when we offer up details directly focused on the job. Can you do the job and do you have an understanding of it?

All of these are important questions to ask. No one can predict where they will be in five years, and if they can do it accurately enough, they tend to not be that creative in the first place.

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