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The first hurdle for any prospective employer is creating an application form. The second is knowing just what questions you should be asking potential candidates to ensure that you know everything you require of them before interviews take place. At Search, we are recruitment specialists and have taken the time to help you consider which questions are right for your application process.
Take a step back and look at the job from the perspective of a candidate. Read your job proposal and think about what questions are relevant to the position. It can be great to know just how competent a candidate is, or what qualifications they have, but if they are lacking in essential skills that you only discover during the interview process, it can feel like a real blow to both themselves and to you as many hours go into interviews.
If your position requires physical fitness, ask if the candidate is fit enough to carry out the detailed tasks in the job proposal. If they need to have good mathematical skills, outline this as well. You could even ask a few questions that appear in the job from time to time to examine reactions and judge answers more fairly. Informing your candidates of the job’s expectations is important, and your application form should follow through with relevant questions. Think about what they would expect to be asked about the job, and ask it.
You could ask a candidate what skills they have and be impressed, but what can make the difference is seeing just how they could potentially apply those skills. Competency based questions and answers are ideal for asking a theoretical question and getting back an answer that gives a more personal insight into a potential employee than just their run-of-the-mill CV and cover letter could provide. It is easy to lie on a CV, but asking the right questions to make them think will give a much better insight into their thought processes.
A competency question can be simple. Asking a candidate ‘Tell us how you overcame a problem at work’ or ‘Give an example of a time where you successfully led a team’ leaves candidates open to a variety of answering interpretations. For the employer, it is a chance to read over individual answers to see who has spent time on their application, and who shows a demonstration of the qualities you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to adapt these questions to suit your business’s responsibilities – that is expected from most employers.
If the position you are offering is full time, you need to specify this and ensure that candidates inform you of their availability to work. This is an especially important process when hiring for part time jobs that may only have specific rota spaces available. A full time student cannot commit to a full time position, but they could potentially be suitable for part time work where their schedules do not conflict with your company’s. Ask your candidates when they are available and how flexible they can be for jobs that have no set shifts.
Notification of a candidate’s notice period is also important for you to know. If you require immediate employment, a candidate in another job may struggle to leave sooner than a week or two before they are required to work for you. On the other hand, others may have no notice period at all due to unemployment or student status, and could begin work immediately if offered. Consider when you require your new employees to begin working, and take into consideration their notice periods to ensure that you are not disappointed.
This is a step that some companies may not include in their application form, but asking questions relevant to your company can really help find who has done their research and wants to work with you for more than experience and money. Ask a question as simple as ‘What do you like about our company?’ Or even ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ provides you as the employer with an answer that helps narrow down your options further to find those candidates who are passionate about working with you and your team.
More application questions are quite common but are very relevant and should be included in your application. Always remember to include the following as your base application:
From there, you can customise your application with further questions specific to your company, asking further competency based questions and get to know your candidates. You will find the best candidates in no time!