This article will focus on a crucial step in the job interview process: the candidate’s training programme and career path.

Before moving on to this stage of the interview, establish a framework by explaining to the candidate why their CV was selected.

Each candidate is different. Whether you decide to dig deeper into their education or career path will depend on the candidateā€™s profile and their work experience.

The training programme

The goal is threefold:

  1. Understand the motivational levers and their coherent training programme
  2. Review their training
  3. Better understand how the candidate has applied, or will apply, the competencies they have acquired throughout their professional career.

Review of the training programme

Here are some good questions to ask candidates:

On initial training

  • What was your favourite course? What was your least favourite course? ā€¢ What scores did you receive most often? ā€¢ What subjects were you most successful in? What were your most difficult subjects?
  • How did your studies prepare you for your professional life (or the positions youā€™ve held up until now)?
  • Are there certain things you learned that have proven to be particularly useful?

On continuous learning

  • After finishing your studies, have you had the opportunity to take other training that was particularly meaningful? In what way?
  • What have you learned from your training, that you deem essential?
  • How has your training affected the different positions you have held?

Things to remember

These questions will allows you to learn more about candidatesā€™ training programmes and how their acquired competencies relate to the sought after position, their career choices, motivational levers and their training.

Importance should be placed more on candidatesā€™ work experience rather than their educational years. Past professional experience proves to be the more decisive element when accepting candidates.

Heavy questioning on candidateā€™s education should be reserved for candidates interviewing for their first job. These questions should cover candidatesā€™ education, results, and their thoughts on their education.

The career path

The goal is threefold:

  1. Appreciate the quality of the experience
  2. Confirm that the candidate has the practical knowledge required for the position
  3. Evaluate key competencies and responsibilities

The aim is to ensure that the candidatesā€™ career path corresponds to the sought after profile

Review of the career path

Important advice

Questions regarding candidatesā€™ career paths must go beyond a simple description of the previous positions they have held. They must allow you to assess their experiences in terms of a logical career path, achievements, motivation and obstacles. It is best to follow a chronological order, and centre on the most recent experiences, or those most pertinent to the position sought. Start by discussing candidatesā€™ current job, or the one they have just left. Then, move on to past work experience. If candidatesā€™ experiences are completely unrelated, focus on their latest position held and then discuss their first jobs.

Here are some good questions to ask candidates:

In terms of their choices

  • What was the logic behind your career choices and why?
  • What are the important milestones in your career path?

In terms of accomplishments

  • What are your main responsibilities in your current job (or what were they for your past job)?
  • What were the three most important responsibilities you had when holding this position?

In terms of motivation, achievement and obstacles

  • What elements do you base your satisfaction on for the position(s) held? Your dissatisfaction?
  • Among all the positions you have held, which one did you feel the most productive in? The least productive?
  • What are you most proud of? Why?
  • We have all been faced with difficult times. What obstacles have you faced? How did you overcome these obstacles?
  • What skills do you have that you would not be able to demonstrate in this position?

In terms of work environment

  • What do you like most about your current company? What do you like the least?
  • What has been, for you, the best working environment? the worst?
  • How well do you work with your superiors? Your colleagues?

In terms of responsibilities and achievements

  • What objectives do you have? Did you accomplish these objectives?
  • How did you accomplish them?
  • What do you work on the most to accomplish your objectives?
  • What objectives were the most difficult to accomplish?
  • How do you deal with the need to accomplish a particular goal?

In terms of energy and engagement

  • How do you feel about your current workload?
  • Why do you think you can be successful in this position?

In terms of career overview

  • At what point in your career are you today?
  • What has been a particularly significant time in your career? Why?
  • If you could change anything about your current company, what would it be?

Hints & tips

Only ask one question at a time; start with the positive, end with the negative. Ask open-ended, neutral questions. Rephrase your questions to make sure the candidate has clearly understood the questions; ask follow-up questions to gather more information.

Things to remember

A review of candidatesā€™ career path is used to measure how they have evolved throughout their career and what exactly they have accomplished in their past experiences.

Exploring their career paths allows you to determine whether the candidateā€™s profile fits the vacancy, and whether the companyā€™s expectations matches those of the candidate.

This review should follow a chronological order, starting with the most recent experiences and the ones most relevant to the position sought. Recruiters must analyse candidatesā€™ career paths in terms of choices, achievements, obstacles and even failures. It is important to have candidates discuss their accomplishments to gather as must information as possible.

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