3 Steps to Create Great Customized Interview Guides

By Adam Robinson,
August 21, 2012

If you’re not using interview guides, you are wasting a lot of time. Having a pre-determined concrete set of questions to ask every candidate can reduce hiring time and help you find the best person for the job! In order to create great interview guides you need to focus on the job you are hiring for, dig into the candidate’s behavior, and ask questions to determine if the candidate is a culture fit. All of this in one simple interview guide will work wonders on your hiring process, trust us! Below we list the 3 steps to creating the best customized interview guides so you can be well on your way to better hiring.

1. Focus on the job

Many hiring managers don’t realize that using the same set of questions for all open positions can lead to every HR employee’s worst nightmare… a bad hire! Luckily there’s a quick fix. First analyze the job you are hiring for and develop your questions around the job’s most important duties. If you are hiring a sales manager and they need to make cold calls, develop relationships with customers, and be exceptionally organized your interview questions should look like:

a. Tell me a time when you had to make cold calls..

b. Tell me a time when you had to develop relationships with clients..

c. Tell me a time when you had to be extremely organized..

If you are asking every candidate these same interview questions you will get a good idea of who has the experience needed to perform the tasks your job is calling for. 

2. Dig into the behavior

Ever heard of behavioral interviewing? Ha ha! Besides being featured in every trade shows and blog post (hi!) behavioral based interviewing is becoming very well known to hiring managers because it predicts future behavior off of past behavior. If you happen to be unfamiliar with behavioral interviewing you can read our very informative blog post here.

When you are developing an interview guide, it’s good practice to include questions on a candidate’s past behavior. In order to really dig deep into a candidate’s behavior it’s important to always questions based off of behavioral traits needed for the job you are hiring for. Let’s say you are interviewing for a sales manager who needs to be persistent, direct, and charistmatic, your interview guide would reflect those traits and each question would ask how the candidate was [insert trait] in a situation. 

3. Determine if there is a culture fit

Culture fit inside an organization is key to a successful business and every employee you hire should fit perfectly into your culture. The last few questions on your interview guides should determine if the candidate is a good culture fit. Figure out what makes your office different from your competitors, is it the environment or the employees values? Then ask questions based on your answers.

Here at Hireology we value optimism and it’s important that we hire optimistic people as well. So we ask the question: “On a scale from 1-10, how lucky are you?” Their answer and attitude helps us gage their optimism which we compare to other candidates which could be the deciding factor between two very close candidates.

The steps that help you create a custom interview guide will also speed up your interviewing process and cut down on the chance that you are hiring based on your “gut feeling” which will in turn help you hire the right person! Let us know in the comments below what questions you ask your candidates and if you use a custom guide. Happy Hiring.

Make sure your custom interview guides aren’t ruined by these common interview mistakes!


About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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