To Find the Right Candidates, Ask Great Questions

Despite a high unemployment rate in California, many of the employers Connect Staffing supports are struggling to find qualified people to fill positions. Numerous factors are driving the labor shortage, only some of which are in an employer’s control. 

Once a candidate has reached the interview stage, businesses need to have their game plan set so they can accurately and efficiently confirm that the candidate is the right fit for the job. Having a clear plan for how to approach interviews not only puts the team in the right mindset to identify the best candidates. It also controls risk.

Plan ahead to get the most from the interview process

Like any skill, interviewing takes practice. Interviews are not typical conversations, nor are they always a normal part of the interviewer’s routine. Managers often have many things on their minds besides the person they are meeting when they step into the interview room. Providing them with guidelines can make their job easier and more consistent between interviews.

Many employers find that having a standardized set of questions for every candidate is a useful way to equip interviewers to handle the process well. Establishing a set of standard questions can avoid missing important details while also reducing the potential for bias. As a rule, asking open-ended questions and letting the candidate talk is preferable to inviting simple, “yes or no” responses. 

These are some of the key factors that feed into effective questions:

  • The candidate’s resume

A candidate’s resume is the obvious starting point for interview questions. Job seekers work hard to pack all they want their prospective employers to know into their resumes. A good interview needs to spend some time exploring what the CV says about the candidate’s prior work. Look for features of prior positions that match the opening, and explore how transferable the candidate’s skills may be. 

  • The job description

Verifying that the candidate has the necessary skills to do the work is a mandatory component of the interview process. A well written job description should contain all of the key features of the work the candidate will be asked to perform. Interviewers should have the job description in front of them during the interview. They can use it as a straightforward guide. If the candidate has a resume that checks some but not all of the boxes, ask the candidate to fill in the blanks.

  • Company culture

In any job where the candidate will regularly work with coworkers, cultural fit is important. Someone who is a loud talker might not want to work in a facility where chit-chat is not the norm. The opposite is also true. An interviewer should know about the specific environment where the candidate’s job will be located, so the right questions can be asked.

  • Necessary experience level

Not every job requires a decade of experience doing that specific work. An interviewer needs to know what the “must haves” are, and what the business is willing to train up. If the new hire will undergo training, the interview should include questions to explore the candidate’s willingness to learn new things. 

  • Safety

Most of the positions Connect Staffing fills require sensitivity to health and safety risks. Employers should be prepared to ask pointed questions about a candidate’s understanding of the specific safety requirements of the job. In some cases, not knowing all the details may not be a deal-breaker. But if the employer knows that the candidate is missing important safety skills, it can take extra steps to provide training and other resources to prevent an incident.

The importance of training hiring managers

Training is essential for avoiding the major pitfalls of the interview process. Companies often make the mistake of assuming that their managers know all the questions they cannot lawfully ask a candidate. Asking the wrong questions can lead to serious employment discrimination complaints. California’s anti-discrimination laws prohibit employers from asking about a range of characteristics, including these:

  • Age
  • Race, color, and national origin
  • Criminal history
  • Religion
  • Gender and sexual orientation
  • Disabilities and medical conditions
  • Military service and veteran status
  • Genetic characteristics
  • Salary histories
  • Criminal conviction histories

Connect Staffing is your interview partner 

The team at Connect Staffing is happy to work with your team to develop good interview practices. We serve as matchmakers, so before we send a candidate to you we do a good deal of interviewing ourselves. To ensure your team gets the information it needs to make a good hire, call us at (714) 622-4494.


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