Interview Questions That Get Results

Interview Questions That Speed Time to Hire
Ngampol Thongsai/

Today’s market calls for quicker time-to-hire than ever before. With so few candidates available for so many openings, job seekers will not wait patiently for an interview or an offer. They’re juggling multiple requests for their time and attention, so institutions must optimize the hiring process or lose out on top talent.

In addition to speeding time to hire and getting talent on-boarded, recruiters and hiring managers are tasked with making the right hire. They must minimize the chance a new staff member will not be a good fit.

Smart interview questions can help. Whether at the pre-screening phase, during first interviews, or in the final round of selection, asking the right question can help uncover the perfect fit in record time.

Prescreen questions

Smart recruiters are using the initial application as an opportunity to connect with job seekers and do a bit of prescreening. Working with hiring managers, they uncover what “deal breakers” have caused the hiring process to stall (or need to restart) in the past. Are hours and shifts at issue? Will the candidate be required to further his/her certifications or educational requirements? For some job seekers, these questions will push them along into the process.

For others, prescreen questions will weed them out so HR can move on to the next. Working with department leaders to create one or two deal-breaking questions can save everyone time and help HR focus on quality candidates, rather than quantity. Don’t have time to call every applicant? Chat bots can help speed the process along. You can even use them to request degree and certification verification before you start the next level of screening.

Interviewing smarter

A savvy recruiter knows when to ask and when to sit back and listen. They follow the 80/20 rule: talk 20% of the time, listen 80%. You’ll want to ask questions that get the candidates to open up about their personality, their goals, and even their quirks. If we were just hiring for qualifications, a resume would suffice. HR is looking for more: a good attitude, potential to grow, and a good fit for the team and the institution.

Questions that spark revealing answers are always open-ended and often situational. They touch on something that happens day-to-day or the unusual occurrence on the job and ask the applicant to describe how she would respond. Many HR professionals work with hiring managers to uncover “worst case scenario” situations that can define what a worker is capable of, or what he might do in an emergency and focus interview questions around those.

Remember the old “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” That hackneyed question is seeing a resurgence, as more facilities are looking for job seekers that want to grow and learn. But more than asking where they see their career trajectory, the important follow up is “…and what are you doing to get there from here?” Candidates that have a plan for their future may reveal they’ll be ready for new challenges or that they’ll be out the door in record time.

For many HR professionals and hiring managers, silence is awkward. They look to fill the gaps, as we do in all social situations, with conversation. But for savvy recruiters, silence is golden. As uncomfortable as you might be, the candidates will likely be more so, and more willing to offer information about themselves to the fill the gap. That’s what interviews are for – getting job seekers to reveal themselves so you can assess if they’ll be a good fit.

Asking applicants what they liked (disliked) best about their previous roles offers an opportunity to apply those responses to the work being offered. If they say the worst part of their job was dealing with the public, they might not be the best fit for a job that revolves around patient interaction.

In today’s difficult market, no healthcare facility can afford to waste time and resources on bad candidates or bad hires. Honing your interview skills can optimize the time you spend and the results they net.

By Riia O'Donnell