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Ditch the Personality Interview Questions

New business owners and entrepreneurs often interview candidates that they will also be managing. What if you could collect reliable information in the interview process to use not only for making a hiring decision but also to help manage the individual?


Starting with the interview process, you might be familiar with personality interview questions. While these types of questions are useful, they are limited by their subjective nature. Instead, you should seek an objective, reliable view of each candidate by asking behavioral interview questions.


Personality Is the Symptom Not the Source


Personality interview questions do not provide enough clarity about a candidate’s thinking. Rather, these types of questions focus on behaviors, not the thinking process that leads to the behavior. It’s similar to focusing on symptoms, not causes.


When you hear the word symptom, you might think of getting your car serviced after hearing an unusual noise. If the mechanic only focuses on the symptoms, they might reach an inaccurate conclusion about what caused the noise and miss the larger, root issue.


Similarly, the answers to personality interview questions will not provide a complete picture of how the candidate will think and behave in your company. You might discover that the candidate is not the same person you thought they were in the interview when trying to manage the individual once they become an employee.


With that in mind, how do you discover the thinking that leads to a candidate’s behavior before you eventually manage the individual? You need to measure their emotional intelligence competencies.


Why Should You Measure the Emotional Intelligence of Candidates?


Taking this step of measuring thinking, which leads to behavior, will provide you with an accurate view of the candidate. Then, you can compare the candidate’s competencies to the benchmarks for the role you are hiring for to find the best fit for your company.


Through this process, you will be able to answer three critical hiring questions about each candidate:

  1. Can the candidate do the job? (Skills and abilities)

  2. Will the candidate do the job? (Thinking and behavior)

  3. Does the candidate fit the role? (Culture and benchmark comparison)

Finding the answers to these questions will provide you with accurate information about each candidate, which personality interview questions do not offer. The objective answers that you obtain will help you build the best team and then manage individuals effectively based on their unique motivators.


What Is the Best Interview Method to Gather Candidate Information?


When reaching this step, many hiring managers are unsure which questions to ask during the interview process to unlock a candidate’s thinking and behavior.


A proven method is using a behavioral interview. The method of behavioral interviewing includes a process to identify a candidate's actual behaviors, a strategy to uncover behavioral indicators, and the means to access a candidate's competencies and skills against job-related qualifications.


During the interview, you will want to ask primary questions such as:


  • Details about a candidate’s past roles

  • Actual situations in their role

  • The tasks they were assigned in the role

  • The actions they took

  • The results from their actions


Then, you should ask secondary probing questions that take a deeper dive into a candidate’s thinking and behavior. This is an important step because a candidate's actual behavior and choices in past situations will be indicative of their future behavior and choices in your company.


The information you gather from the assessment and behavioral interview will also equip you with the tools you need to manage the candidate once they become an employee.


How Can an Interview Help You Manage an Employee?


By evaluating the emotional intelligence competencies of a candidate before they become an employee, you will have a treasure trove of information to understand the individual’s motivations that lead to certain behavior or choices.


You want to avoid the situation of being surprised or caught off-guard by an employee’s behavior. Relying on personality interview questions will, unfortunately, take you down the wrong path because you will not be able to understand the root cause -- or motivation -- that causes an undesired behavior.


Conversely, when you have access to information about your employee’s competencies, you can return to the assessment results to evaluate why they are taking certain actions or making certain choices.


Using information about the employee’s thinking will allow you to manage the employee more effectively by understanding their blind spots that indicate coaching or training areas to build the best team for sustained success.


How Can ZERORISK HR Support Effective Hiring?


ZERORISK HR offers the ZERORISK Hiring System, a proprietary assessment that objectively measures thinking, not personality, and includes a custom behavioral interview guide as part of the results.


To learn more about the ZERORISK Hiring System, consider taking a complimentary assessment, or contact our team to have an initial conversation about how we can support your business in the hiring process.