Job interviews can be daunting for both candidates and recruiting managers. When conducting an interview the focus is often naturally placed on the candidate. Experience gained throughout my career in recruitment has taught me that using the wrong questioning techniques or not looking beyond the CV could lead to that perfect future employee slipping through their fingers.

For most businesses, recruiting an additional member of staff is an important consideration. It’s one of the most important decisions a business owner or hiring manager has to make. Find the right candidate and your business will flourish, get it wrong and you run the risk of wasting money, time and even alienating existing team members, impacting upon morale.

Many businesses often overlook their existing members of staff when it comes to recruitment. Often businesses already have experienced members of staff who perhaps not only understand how the company operates and work well with the existing team, but also may be ready to take the next step in their career. If this isn’t practical, then the best place to start would be to give consideration to the different skills you need within the business. What characteristics are you looking for in a new team member? Why does your business need them? The right candidate will be able to get the job done whilst also adding value to the business and their team.

The recruitment process can be rewarding, exciting and challenging for both employers and applicants, so, what are the questions you should be asking when conducting an interview? Besides the obvious competency based questions, allowing you to understand their basic skill set, we recommend considering asking the following questions.

1) What is your most significant accomplishment? Give your candidate the opportunity to describe his or her most significant accomplishment within a relevant scenario. Their answers will not only show what they have achieved in previous roles but also their values and what they consider an accomplishment, helping you to understand whether this candidate could accomplish your company objectives alongside the existing team.

2) How would you solve this problem? Asking this question after positioning a scenario gives the applicant chance to show their problem solving skills, creativity and potential. An open question such as “How would you solve a dispute between staff members?” for example, gives you an indication to how they would tackle any issues within their team.

3) Understand the person behind the CV: Asking questions such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” is great but can leave the floor open for an applicant to continue talking about themselves in a purely professional manner. To understand the person behind the CV you need to dig a little deeper. Richard Branson’s favourite interview question is ‘What didn't you get a chance to include on your CV?’ Asking these kind of questions will uncover more of the applicants personality, interests and individuality and will help you to understand the personality behind the professional and how they will fit within your existing team.

4) What question are you hoping we will ask? Ask this at the start of the question section of the interview. The candidate will probably have prepared a solid answer for a certain question they hope you will ask. Asking this question ensures you will be speaking to a relaxed and confident candidate who will give you a better image of how they will fit into your business.

5) What is your passion? This helps you to look past the skills sets of the candidate and focus on what makes them the person they are. Their answer will not only show you how well they will interact with existing staff members, which can improve staff retention, but will also give you an indication into what motivates them.

It is important to consider the image of your brand in the employment market, whether an applicant is successful or not. Failing to respond to applicants, arriving late for the interview and not offering feedback at the end can damage your brand and portrays a negative image for future applicants. Remember, the interview process works two ways and whilst in theory you are interviewing them, the applicants is also interviewing you and your business.

By Amy Stephenson, founder of Human Recruitment