8 Interview Questions to Help You Attract — and Retain — Top Talent

As talented candidates remain in the driver’s seat of the hiring process, it’s just as important for leaders to stand out in an interview as it is for interviewees. Asking the right questions is essential to uncover the candidate’s key skills and working habits. Drawing from InsideOut roundtable sessions with top hiring leaders, these unique questions will help you gain insight into the right candidate for your workplace — and determine if your workplace is the right fit for them, too. 

Evaluating Culture Fit

What can we [company] do for you?
What do you need from a boss?

It is in everyone’s best interest to quickly assess if a candidate will be a good addition to your company culture. A 2022 Job Seeker National Report showed that 55% of job seekers would leave a job if the company culture “was not aligned with their expectations or values.” With two-thirds of employees reporting that culture fit can be determined within one month, employers must evaluate their diversity recruiting strategy, expand beyond their traditional talent pools and take steps to build a diverse and inclusive workplace from the beginning. Rather than looking for “culture fit,” which often leads to unintentional bias and more of the same, consider “culture add,” and ask questions that invite candidates to speak to how their perspective and experience can enhance and diversify your company culture.

According to a 2022 Deloitte global survey, four in 10 Gen Zs and nearly a quarter of millennials plan to leave their jobs within two years, and roughly a third would do so without another job lined up, signaling significant dissatisfaction levels. Employers must spark a real connection with employees, and a supportive culture is an opportunity for companies to stand out and keep young workers with them for longer. 

PREMIUM CONTENT: Insights on Gender Parity in the US Staffing Industry

Uncovering Aspirations

What do you want to learn here?
If I had the perfect job for you, what would it be?
Tell me about a time when you got bored with your job and what you did about it.

According to Better Buys research, 92% of all employees believe that professional development is important in the workplace. However, the Job Seeker National Report reflects that less than a quarter of employees feel that their current workplace provides learning and development opportunities. Asking questions that consider a candidate’s learning styles and goals demonstrates employers’ commitment to their employees’ career trajectory.

Failing to provide growth and learning opportunities has real consequences. One in five workers switched jobs last year, and more than half of millennials consider themselves open to other opportunities, even if gainfully employed. Lack of engagement is bad for morale. With only 21% of employees in Gallup’s 2022 State of the Global Workplace Survey reporting sustained workplace engagement, companies must examine how they are cultivating growth.

Retaining Top Talent

What should I do to keep you here?
What causes you stress?
If you’re not here a year from now, why will that be?

Asking questions that illuminate your candidate’s expectations and sense of resolve is a great way to learn about their skills and convey that their success is a priority.

A recent MIT Sloan study identified a widening rift between leadership and employee workplace perceptions, with 88% of employees reporting a lack of organizational preparedness. This year, 86% of employees cited a lack of effective communication as a main cause of workplace failures and frustrations. Performance feedback should be regular and actionable, and even new hires should feel the company’s higher-ups value their perspective. Interview questions that invite evaluative input from the candidate will reflect a company that not only holds these values, but acts accordingly.

As you prepare for your interviews, it’s more important than ever to prioritize what candidates need to bring value to — and thrive in — your workplace. The status quo interview questions are repetitive and ineffective in today’s dynamic job market. These alternative questions help identify talented hires that reflect your company’s values and are in it for the long haul. By taking a whole-person interview approach that addresses company culture, growth potential and employee needs and aspirations, you can ensure that the talent you hire will flourish.

Susie Hall

Susie Hall
Susie Hall is president of community and customer engagement at Aquent.

Susie Hall

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