Archive for the ‘The Interview’ Category

The 7 Best Open Ended Interview Questions

During a job interview, open ended questions provide valuable opportunities to peek behind the veil of prepared answers and find out what a job candidate is really like. The following are interview questions designed to get applicants to reveal more about themselves.

1. “Well…why don’t you start with telling me about yourself?”

As an hiring manager, pay attention to not only how impressive well the candidate can speak of themself, but also to how the candidate demonstrates her willingness to take the initiative in answering the question. Self motivated employees can do their jobs without constant supervision or motivational tricks.

2. “How would you go about handling _______?”

This question is designed to test technical knowledge. While candidates may claim to have experience in your industry, a question like this will test whether or not they actually know what they are doing.

3. “So, tell me about some of your biggest failures or regrets.”

This question tests honesty and sense of personal responsibility. Does the candidate take responsibility for their failures or do they blame others? Do they learn from their mistakes? Can they answer the question without going into personal details?

4. “If I were to call one of your co-workers, what would they say about you?”

This is a great way to indirectly find out whether or not a candidate can put their self in the shoes of another co-worker and to find out how well they can work with others, and also empathize with others.

5. “How have you handled conflict with coworkers in the past?”

We all have had at least one conflict with a coworker in the past. If the applicant denies ever having a conflict, dig a little deeper. This question is valuable for helping you determine whether or not a candidate is a good team player.

6. “Give me an example of a stressful situation at work and how you handled it. What did you do well? What could you have done better?”

The ability to work under pressure demonstrates that an employee is committed and can handle stress. For this question, look for specific answers that illustrate strength under pressure.

7. “Tell me about the strengths and weaknesses of your last boss.”

This can reveal how your applicant works with superiors and whether he will fit well under the new management style. Does the applicant have plenty of bad things to say about her last boss? Does she respond well to professional criticism? Ask for specific examples to back up her evaluation.

I came up with 7 — would love for you to share more in the comments!

Also, if you’re recruiting new employees, you may want to include an employee benefit statement during the interview to showcase how much your company spends on salary and benefits for your employees.

Best Exit Interview Strategies

An exit interview is one of the easiest ways to reduce turnover in your company. It usually takes about 5-10 extra minutes to talk to an employee who is voluntarily leaving, and an interview can reveal information that you’d never learn from your current employees. Most employers who ask the right questions during exit interviews find departing employees extremely frank and helpful.

Even though exit interviews can provide invaluable information, studies have shown that most companies do not have a solid exit interview strategy in place. If you don’t have an exit interview process, follow our simple steps to get the most out of your exit interviews.

  • The best time to ask employees the questions you’d ask during an exit interview is when they’re still happily employed. If you learn about problems within your company before it’s too late, you can stop dissatisfied employees from leaving in the first place.
  • While some companies give departing employees a form to complete, we recommend a face-to-face meeting. This will produce more honest answers and provides more opportunity for follow-up.
  • Make the exit interview comfortable. Employees should know that there won’t be retribution for an honest discussion.
  • If the employee who is leaving is extremely valuable to your company, consider asking if there’s anything you can do to encourage him to stay. It can be relatively easy to retain an employee if compensation is his primary reason for leaving.
  • Examine all feedback gathered from exit interviews and create policies that address recurring issues. The best exit interview in the world won’t do any good if it doesn’t lead to change.

The following are a few questions you may want to ask during an exit interview:

  • What is your primary reason for leaving? Are there secondary reasons?
  • Was there one event in particular that made you leave?
  • What were the most and least satisfying parts of your job?
  • Did your duties meet your expectations?
  • Did anyone in this company discriminate against you or harass you?
  • What would you do to improve our workplace?
  • Were you happy with your compensation?
  • Did you feel communication with management was open during your employment?

If you’re looking for more ways to reduce turnover, consider total compensation reports.  These reports show employees exactly how much their benefits are worth.

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Category: HR Communications, Performance Reviews, The Interview

How to Write a Job Description

Writing a bad job description can attract the wrong job candidates, contribute to high turnover and even get you sued. If you’re writing a job description for the first time, you may not even know where to start. Relax and follow these tips for an effective job description:

Follow an outline. While you can add other things to your job description, make sure you include at least these five items:

1. Title
2. Department
3. Responsibilities
4. Qualifications
5. Preferences

Be specific. Don’t just say that your applicants need “computer skills.” Do they need to know industry-specific programs or just Microsoft Office? How advanced does their knowledge need to be?

Make the responsibilities section as complete as possible. One of the top reasons people quit their jobs is that the job never met their expectation. By accurately describing the job up front, you can reduce your turnover rate.

Know the difference between qualifications and preferences. Qualifications are only the minimum requirements necessary to perform the job, while preferences are the skills you might like to see in a candidate. Be careful about listing your preferences as requirements – the best candidates don’t always fit the predetermined ideal.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Remember that you can find well-written job descriptions on job boards like and There’s nothing wrong with using these descriptions as your guide as you write your own.

Don’t discriminate. If you don’t want to get sued, be extremely careful that your job description doesn’t discriminate based on age, race, sex, nationality, religion or disability. If the job does carry with it legitimate physical requirements, spell those out in detail.

Do you have tips for writing a job description? Write them below in the comments!