Do you feel like you don’t have enough information to properly assess a candidate's skills during the hiring process? Do you feel like candidates are falling short in expressing their true potential?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, don't worry - you're not alone.
In fact, these are two of the most common challenges faced by recruiters and hiring managers today. The good news is, there are ways to overcome them.
One way to empower hiring managers and help candidates better express their skills is by supporting hiring managers to ask additional questions that will be used as a signal of the candidate’s skills and understanding.
This not only allows for a more accurate assessment of the candidate but also provides an opportunity for the candidate to demonstrate their skills and understanding in a more holistic way.
Which questions should you be asking?
Well, that's exactly what we're going to talk about in this blog post. We'll go over 7 questions that will help you get a better understanding of a candidate's skills and experience and we'll also cover why it's important to ask these questions.
So, without further ado, let's get started!
Question 1: How do you feel about your solution?
This is a great question to ask candidates early on in the assessment process. It allows you to gauge the candidate's understanding of the problem, and how they feel about their proposed solution.
Questioning a candidate's understanding of the problem is important because it allows you to see how well they comprehend the challenge at hand. If they don't have a good understanding of the problem, it's likely that their solution will be less effective.
This question also allows you to see if a candidate can think critically about their work.
Do they feel confident in their solution? Are they able to articulate why they believe their solution is the best option? Do they identify areas where their solution could be improved?
If a candidate can't think critically about their work, it's likely that they'll have difficulty making improvements and adapting to changes down the road, which means they would have trouble improving and growing.
Another thing that this allows you to do is get a sense of what are candidates' expectations of themselves and their work. Are they looking to just get the job done, or are they looking to push themselves and create something great?
For example, If the solution is pretty good and the candidate puts 3, that means they have a high expectation of themselves and they want to deliver something great.
But if the solution is just fine or unsatisfactory and the candidate puts 5, that means they're just looking to get the job done and aren't expecting much from themselves or they don't know any better.
This question allows you to assess a candidate's skills, understanding, and attitude all at once, which makes it a powerful tool in the hiring process and one that you should definitely be using.
Question 2: If you have an opportunity to start from the beginning would you change anything?
Continuing on from the previous question, this one allows you to see if a candidate is someone who is always looking to learn and grow, or if they're someone who is content with where they're at and doesn't see the need to improve.
If a candidate says they wouldn't change anything, it could mean a few different things.
It could mean that they're satisfied with their work and don't see any room for improvement.
Or, it could mean that they're not very self-aware and don't realize that there are areas where they could improve. And in most cases, it's likely a combination of both.
Either way, this isn't the type of answer you're looking for.
You want to see candidates who are constantly looking to improve and grow. You want candidates who are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and are always looking for ways to improve.
On the other hand, if a candidate is able to identify areas where they could have done better, that's a good sign. It shows that they're self-aware and are always looking to learn and grow.
This is the type of answer you're looking for and these are the type of people you want on your team.
It's important to note that you're not looking for candidates who are perfect because there is no such thing. You're looking for candidates who are always looking to learn and grow, and who are open to feedback.
Another thing you can learn from this is if they made a mistake in thinking/approach, didn’t manage time well, spend too much time on elements that are not important, or didn’t quite understand the problem.
This is very valuable information because it will give you an insight into how they think, how they work, and what are their strengths and weaknesses.
You can also learn about their problem-solving skills, their ability to think critically, and their attitude.
This question is a great way to assess all of these things, which is why it's a must-use question in the hiring process.
Question 3: If you had 3 more days/hours what would you do next?
Asking candidates what they would do if they had more time is a great way to see how a candidate thinks, what they would improve, and what is missing in their solution.
It also allows you to see what a candidate's priorities are.
For example, if a candidate says they would spend more time on research, that shows that they understand that a key part of the job is to be well-informed and to have a good understanding of the problem and topic.
On the other hand, if a candidate says they would spend more time on the presentation or making it look nicer, that shows that they understand the importance of presentation and delivering a well-rounded solution.
Also, this is a great way to see how a candidate works under pressure and how they handle deadlines.
It's important to note that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It's all about seeing how a candidate thinks and what their priorities are.
Question 4: Were setup instructions for the task clear? If not, what instructions would you have needed?
This question is a great way to assess a candidate's attention to detail and ability to follow instructions. It also allows you to see how a candidate handles unclear instructions.
If a candidate says that the instructions were clear, that's a good sign. It shows that they were able to understand and follow the instructions.
Also, if a candidate says that the instructions were unclear, but still offers a well-thought-out solution, that's also a good sign. It shows that they're able to work through unclear instructions and still come up with a good solution.
Being able to work through unclear instructions is a valuable skill and one that you want on your team.
This one is especially important for coding challenges, as it's often the case that instructions are not very clear.
Whatever the case may be, this question is very valuable and should definitely be used.
Question 5: What is the best part of your solution, and what is weak?
This question is similar to the first one, but it's a lot better because it allows you to get a more in-depth look at a candidate's level of knowledge and what they consider to be good and bad.
If candidates say that they consider the best part of their solution, a part that isn't even good, that's a pretty bad sign. It shows that they don't really understand what they're doing.
But, if candidates are able to identify the best and worst parts of their solution, and explain why they think those parts are good or bad, that's an amazing sign.It shows that they know what they're doing and that they can assess their own work critically.
This is an incredibly valuable skill and one that you definitely want on your team.
Question 6: Did you have any problems with the challenge? If so, what were they?
This question is more for you to learn how to improve the challenge rather than to assess the candidate.
If a candidate says they had no problems with the challenge, that's great! It means you've created a well-rounded and effective challenge.
But, you will not hear this often.
Different candidates will have different problems with the challenge. Some might find it too difficult, while others might find it too easy. Some might not understand the instructions, while others might not be able to complete all the tasks in the allotted time.
It's important to take note of all the different problems that candidates have with the challenge so that you can improve it for future candidates.
Remember, asking for feedback is key to creating an effective challenge. Without feedback, you will not be able to improve the challenge and make it more effective.
So, make sure to ask all candidates for their feedback on the challenge, and use that feedback to improve it.
Question 7: How would you rate your candidate's experience?
This question is for you to get a general idea of how the candidate felt about their overall experience.
You want to hear from the candidate what they thought of the process, what could be improved, what they liked, what they didn't like, and anything else that they feel is important to mention and that stood out to them.
This is valuable feedback that you can use to improve your process, and it's also a great way to get a sense of how the candidate felt about their experience.
It's important to note that candidates will not always be honest in their answers to this question.
Candidates who had a bad experience will likely not tell you, as they do not want to risk being rejected. However, you can still get a general idea of how the candidate felt by the way they answer this question.
For example, if a candidate is very hesitant in their answer or seems unsure, it's likely that they did not have a good experience.
On the other hand, if a candidate is enthusiastic and gives a detailed answer, it's likely that they had a good experience.
Either way, this question is a great way to get feedback on your process and to improve it for future candidates.
Questioning candidates is one of the most important parts of the hiring process and by empowering hiring managers to ask the right question, not only will you help candidates better express their skills, but also help hiring managers make more informed decisions.
This will make the hiring process easier for everyone involved, and more importantly, it will ensure that only the best candidates are hired.
Another very important thing I must mention here is that if you want to improve your hiring process, not only you should collect answers and compare them, but also act upon them.
You should use the feedback you gathered to improve your process and make it more effective.
Remember: Only by constantly improving your process will you be able to hire the best candidates for your company.
I hope this was helpful and that you can use these questions to empower your hiring managers and help candidates better express their skills.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out. We are always happy to help!