Small business owners are like a Swiss army knife in that they do pretty much everything. One minute they’re the business owner or CEO making a big decision, the next they’re the lead salesperson, bookkeeper, marketer, and receptionist.

But as any small business owner knows, as your business grows and you acquire more customers, you need help. Furthermore, you may need help finding the right kind of help. After all, nothing can affect your company more than the people you hire to serve your customers and essentially serve as an extension of your brand.

Moreover, it costs business owners money to hire new employees. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost to hire an employee is $4,129, and it takes about 42 days to fill an open position (depending on the type of role and wage or salary). The cost grows the longer it takes you to hire the ideal candidate.

A man interviewing someone for a job

Now, that’s a conundrum! You need to hire help because you’re incredibly busy, but you have to find the time to interview applicants and assess who’s best for the job you need filled, while trying to keep costs down. So, what to do?

Assessing candidates during an interview can be challenging. Creating and asking technical questions are key to determining if a candidate has the skills and expertise to perform their duties. Behavioural questions play an equally important role to determine the work habits, communication styles, and fit within your organization. Below is an overview for creating and rating behavioural questions to help make your next hiring decision easier.

6 Behavioural Interviewing Tips for Small Business Owners

First and foremost, have a recruitment strategy planned out, and think about the questions you will ask your candidates. Creating and analyzing appropriate interview questions isn’t an exact science, however, there are techniques that can assist in assessing the desired soft skills in candidates. 

Here are six job interview tips to consider for interviewing potential candidates that apply to join your company:

1. Do a proper needs assessment for the role

A needs assessment should be created (or updated) for every position that is being hired. Although technical skills are usually top-of-mind, determining the soft skills required will help shape relevant interview questions and answers that the position requires.

2. Draft questions that are relevant for the position

It may seem obvious, but many interviewers can be caught asking cliché and non-relevant questions to prospective candidates. For example, if the position is done without much cross-team collaboration, avoid asking questions about teamwork. Instead, focus on questions that prompt your candidates to detail how they work independently.

3. Create an answer scorecard

When asking behavioral questions, have an idea of the types of answers you are hoping to hear. If not a specific answer, then at least a theme to what would be desired for the role. Creating an answer scorecard can help you recount how each of your candidates replied and who provided the best responses.

4. Evaluate which behavioural questions are most to least important

It is rare for a candidate to have all the capabilities and soft skills ideal for any role. Determine which are key to the role versus nice-to-have. That will help in comparing candidates with similar skills to each other.

5. Be clear on your questions, and focus on questions with examples

Ask questions that make candidates answer using past examples. Instead of asking “how do you stay organized?”, try phrasing it as, “could you provide an example of a time organization led to the successful completion of a project?”. That will (ideally) provide insight into their past experience, and at the very least help assess their ability to follow specific instructions.

6. Hypothetical questions are great (if they’re relevant)

Using hypothetical questions can provide a great insight into how a candidate would react to a specific situation. A great hypothetical to ask is an actual situation that happened to them in a previous job and what actions they took.

Finding the People You Need to Grow Your Team

Crafting a hiring strategy that works for you and preparing in advance of conducting interviews with candidates can save you time, money, and stress. Best of all, it’ll help you find the folks you want and need to represent you.

One more thing: Don’t forget when adding new employees to your company to let your licensed insurance broker know. That’s because hiring more employees may increase your business’s risk.

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About the Author: Jonathan Pinkerton

Jonathan Pinkerton is the Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Zensurance.