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Interview tips to test skills

You’ve got a list of candidates to interview, how do you select the right one?

Asking the right questions in an interview can be tricky. You don’t want to be too nosy or suspecting, but you need to find out what makes the candidate tick, if they’re right for you and, importantly, whether they are telling the truth.

Start by identifying the qualities, talents and skills you expect from the candidate. This can be anything from good team working skills and honesty to excellent attendance and punctuality.

“We look for people with team focus and customer focus. We want a team player who will empathize with and understand the needs of the customer,” says Diane Pocock, training and development manager at Lookers.

After identifying these qualities it is easier to come up with a set of questions that will reveal whether or not the candidate possesses the required skills.

Standard questions such as “Why have you applied for a job at this company?” or “Tell me about yourself and your current job?” are good starters.

In order to assess technical competencies you will need to take a different approach. The basic framework of skills and knowledge will be on the CV. To verify this information, ask probing questions to identify whether the candidate has the required skills.

“Ask about their previous roles and ask them to give specific examples. Ask a candidate how their strengths and weaknesses would affect the role and how they would use them,” says Pocock.

Throughout the interview it is best to give the candidate ample time to think about your questions and answer them fully. It is also standard to ask them if they have any questions for you at the end of the interview.

Make sure you take notes throughout the interview. Write up a short report of how it went as soon as possible after you finish. Include all the things that were said in the interview and how the selection was made – not your thoughts and beliefs.

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