With the unemployment rate at a relative low but our need to seek positions within our banking organizations at a high, how do you locate and find the right candidate? Over the past several years, posting for the positions you are looking for has changed dramatically. No longer are the days for placing an ad in the newspaper or having past resumes and applications sitting in an HR file drawer waiting for a phone call. Employers have had to move more toward career fairs, social media, and online job-posting websites for recruitment and have moved toward employee incentives for referrals of candidates. And while we all know the cost of hiring and training is high while the time spent placing someone is invaluable, we are always hopeful the placement is long-term. So as this part of the job posting and interview process has changed, has your interview process changed as well?
We hear so often how employers are now attempting to hire for "fit" more than technicalities so the question would be: does your interview process help you uncover your next new hire's "fit" in your company?
Just as your candidate prepares for their interview with you, it is equally important that your bank has prepared for them. As with all interviews, the main goal is to determine if the applicant is the right "fit" for the position and with your bank. So it is important that the questions posed to your candidate will reveal the information you are looking for. This can happen if your bank is taking the time to ask the right questions. That is why it is important to review your interview questions frequently to ensure you are pulling the information you need from your candidate. There may be some questions that your bank feels should be asked of every candidate in any position, that helps uncover company "fit" and additional questions may be pared down to the type of position for job "fit."
Often, standard questions involve a brief description from your candidate of what their past work history and the tasks they were involved in. This helps us to understand their previous work history and skills background. So what are some questions for consideration in your interview process that go beyond the position's skills "fit" and uncover company "fit"? Here are some examples to consider if you are reviewing your company's interview questions to find your next potential employee.
What (2-4) words would you use to describe your ideal work environment?
This may help you uncover if your current environment that you are more aware of then they are, will be an ideal environment that allows for them to be at their most productive and feel comfortable with their surroundings.
How would you describe your own work style?
In a team atmosphere, this may identify your need to uncover if your candidate will be required to work in a collaborative team environment or will have more need for independent thinking.
What professional achievement/personal accolade are you most proud of?
This question allows your candidate to showcase themselves and impress you. It is almost always a question they are prepared for and can be a nice icebreaker to get your interviewee into a comfortable state.
Tell me about a time you overcame a personal or professional challenge.
Challenges are part of everyday life and we all face them from time to time. This answer may help you uncover certain behaviors. Finding out how they identify with the challenge, tackle the tasks to move past it and cope with the aftermath may help you hone in on their natural behaviors.
What are your career goals?
This question can also help identify fit in the position, longevity with the company or that their interests will align with your position's objectives for them to obtain career goals, showcase existing skills and challenge them selves in their career growth.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Although this is a question similar to the previous one, this can act as additional question or a standalone one. You may be able to uncover the same answers as the preceding question but the answer to this question may be more in not what they say but the energy, or lack thereof, that you get from their answer. If this is someone with known goals and career aspirations, you can uncover their ambitions and how those ambitions can play out within the bank and your position.
What skill(s) makes you most qualified for this position?
Many questions can attempt to target behaviors and personality but this question helps to target skills and core competencies. It may also identify that the candidate has a good understanding of this position and they see themselves be successful in this position. If the skills or competencies may sound out of bounds for your position, it can also help identify ill-fit.
What excites you most about this position?
This can really help uncover your candidates enthusiasm about the particular position or if they are just here to achieve employment status. The more excitement they express in their answer will help uncover how they hope this position will help them in their career goals and aspirations and how their skills can help them excel in your position.
Describe your favorite/least favorite supervisor and why.
This may help uncover ways the candidate like to be communicated with and managed. It may also uncover maturity and professionalism in how they describe a particular supervisor in a favorable or unfavorable way.
What questions do you have for me?
This is the time to realize how much your candidate prepared for the interview and still has an interest in the position and within your company.
While there are many additional questions that exist, identifying what "fit" your company is looking for may be uncovered in the initial interview process if the right questions are posed. Be sure your bank is preparing for the interview process just as your candidate is. And while your candidate spends time updating their resume periodically, the question to ask ourselves is: do we spend time updating our interview questions periodically to find the right "fit"?
Tittel is senior vice president of retail at the Bank of Luxemburg and a member of the WBA Retail Committee.