It is important to ask good interview questions in order to know the right people to hire. Here are a few things to either think about prior to or during an interview to identify if you are asking the right questions.

Are your questions getting the applicant to talk?
It can be easy to fall into a trap of asking closed questions (Yes/no) when interviewing somebody. While a candidate can often answer your initial question with just a yes or no, this does not provide an opportunity for the candidate to talk and share more details.

Try to avoid this and ask good interview questions by simply phrasing your questions in a way they cannot be answered with a yes or no. Here is an example:

Closed question

Do you have experience selling to CFO’s?

Open-ended question

Tell me about any experience that you have selling to CFO’s.

Are your questions helping you to see how they think?
You will want to ask good interview questions that help you to determine how the candidate thinks. They may have great credentials, they may look great in terms of appearance, but how do they think in different situations? This is extremely important.

Of course it is hard to witness this too much during an interview but there are two things that you can do. The first is somewhat covered by the previous tip and that is to ask open-ended questions where the candidate has to formulate responses and share information. The more thought provoking the question, the more you will be able to witness how they think and how they communicate their thoughts.

The other thing you can do is ask questions that inquire about previous situations that get the candidate to share how they acted or responded. If you have the candidate take you through a previous situation, you will have the opportunity to get an image of how what their thought process was.

Are your questions helping you to see what their past looks like?
You cannot look to the past in order to predict the future, but what the past looks likes does provide clues as to what could happen in the future. Meaning, things are not guaranteed to repeat again but if something happened in the past, it is very possible that it could happen again in the future.

If you agree with that, you can see the importance in getting a picture of what a candidate’s past looks like. Ask good interview questions to help with this. Questions that identify both positive and negative things that happened are very helpful.

Do your questions determine if your job fits well with what they want?
When we interview someone, we can often spend 100% of the time identifying if the candidate is the person that we want to hire. And we can sometimes skip over identifying how well we fit with them.

It is probably technically the candidates job to screen you and make sure it is the right position and company for them. But don’t leave that up to them because if they do not ask good interview questions and end up getting hired without it being a good fit for them, the person that loses the most time and cost is you.