Interview questions and structured interviewing
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Asking the Right Recruitment Questions

Jeff Perry

The opening statements on your recruitment ad are your opportunity to
stand out, to capture attention, and to attract the candidates you want.
One technique to accomplish this involves harnessing the power of the
question. Consider this: what do you do when you read a question? When
you read a question do you automatically answer it? Have you ever read a
question and laughed? Or read a question and said, "as if!"?

The Nature And Power of Questions
The power of a question is profound, perhaps more powerful than we give
credit. Socrates himself suggested that the way to lead is to ask questions.
Asking questions prompts answers. Asking compelling questions
commands engagement. Given this, using the power of questioning is a
great way to engage job seekers in reading your recruitment ads. You can
ask questions knowing that the reader will be inclined to answer them. This
creates an opportunity for you.

For sure there are different kinds of questions, and in recruitment
advertising not all are equal. There are obvious questions, rhetorical
questions, amusing questions and compelling questions. For example, a
question such as, "Would you like to make more money?" could be placed
in the obvious category. Also in that category: "Are you looking for a great
place to work?" (I'd like to meet the job seeker that says no to that one,
then again, maybe I wouldn't!) Obviously most people would like to earn
more and work at a great place. You might be served better by using the
question to get beyond the obvious and into specifics that will highlight
your strengths and attract the right candidate.

Compelling Candidates
So what attracts the right candidates? A question that identifies a gap
between what the job seeker has and what the job seeker wants is
compelling. Keep two objectives in mind when designing your question: to
leverage the strengths of your job or your organization, and to connect
that strength to what your ideal candidates want need and that their
current situation is not providing. Your question can let the job seekers
answer for themselves what is currently missing and allow them to sell
themselves on your opportunity.

To create compelling questions for your job ads, first, list the unique
features of the position. To the right job seeker, these features will be
strengths and will help you attract the candidates you want to talk to.
Whether it's the control someone has over their territory or schedule, the
access they have to upper management, the option to create their own
schedule, access to state-of-the-art technology, or the option to combine
different roles, identify the unique strengths and pinpoint one or two to
build your question on.

Choosing Your Questions
Obviously, your ad is not going to be composed entirely of questions. You
have only a short opportunity to grab the job seeker’s attention, get the
right people to read your entire ad and reply. That is to say you can ask
only a few questions before you must provide answers and details. So the
goal is to have your questions lead the reader to make connections.

Your questions should be limited to two or three depending on how many
strengths you have, and should be followed-up with a call to action such
as – “Join Us”, “Apply Online”, or “Contact Us Now!”

If you want to tout the strengths of your company culture you could ask,
"Are you seeking a company that recognizes your value?" Or, "Do you
have fun coworkers? We do!"

These two questions will lead the job seeker to provide an answer. Are they are
getting their needs met with their current employer or not? If not, you may have
an opportunity to attract and eventually hire this person.

Does your company culture value continuing education? If so, and if this is a
competitive advantage you could ask: "Are you ready to work for a company
that encourages growth by offering excellent education reimbursement?"

Perhaps you prefer to advertise the strengths of a given job. What is it about the
job that might meet a need or want that is missing in your candidates' current
position? Example: "Would you like to create your own schedule?" or "Do you
want to work with cutting edge graphic technology?"

Occasionally you may have a position that requires an unusual skill set. Here the
strength of your job may be providing an opportunity for a unique talent. A great
way to make it clear that you're looking for an uncommon candidate is to ask a
question such as, "Are you one of those rare people who is both a database
expert and can easily teach others what you know?"

So to recap the steps for creating your compelling questions:

List the strengths of the job, the company, or both

Decide which two or three messages are most important to communicate

Construct questions that present your strengths and allow the reader to
make connections between those strengths and the gaps in their current

Use one or two questions to compel, and a final one that calls for action

Do you have strengths that set you apart as an employer?

Are you ready to use those strengths to write a great recruitment ad?

Don't hesitate, try it now!


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