indicatorPeople and Culture

How to structure an interview

By ATB Financial 7 January 2021 3 min read

Asking the right questions as an interviewer can be just as nerve racking as answering them as an interviewee. As an entrepreneur entering the growth phase of your business, interviews will likely come up sooner than you think. With the help of our friends Pippa and Neige Blair at Routine, we put together some questions you might want to consider adding into your decision process.


Get to know your candidates 


Neige shares that hiring someone is like meeting someone in a social setting, you want to take a personal interest in them. Some organizations have opted for a more casual interview setting, such as going out for beers with some of the key team members involved in the decision making process. Not only does this provide a more casual setting, but it also allows your candidate to open up a bit more about themselves.

Consider asking: 

  • “What do you like to do for fun?”
  • “What bands do you enjoy listening to?”
  • “Do you like Stranger Things (the TV show)?”

These questions will also help to ease both your and the candidates nerves, before you get into some of your more technical questions.


How do your candidates work?


Pippa suggests that another important component to any interview is asking your candidate questions relating to your core values as a company. For example, let’s say one of your core company values is autonomy. If this is the case, consider asking questions like: 

  • “In your work environment, how much structure and direction do you expect from your leader?”
  • “How do you prefer to work? Do you like being delegated to?”
  • “What is one word you would use to describe your work style?”

This will allow you to assess if your workplace is an environment they can thrive in. 

Perhaps your organization places a large focus on collaboration. If this is the case, you might decide on a more behavioural style of question such as: 

“Give us a specific example of a time when you collaborated to complete a task. Were you successful? If so, why do you think that was?”

Although behavioural and situational questions are common in most interviews, it is important to remember that not all of your candidates will be used to this style of question. To get an answer that provides some insight into how this person interacts with people in their workplace, you might need to continue to ask some follow-up questions to get your candidate talking.


What are your candidates future career goals?


To ensure your future employee is applying for a job in which they believe they will be able to get back just as much as they are contributing, it is good to ask about the big picture.

This might include some of the following questions: 

  • “How does this role play into your future career goals?”
  • “Where would you like to be in your career in 1 year? In five years? In 10 years?”
  • “What skills would you most like to develop in the next year?”

By giving consideration to the future goals, you will also ensure that your new hire sticks with your business for the long haul. Asking these questions also shows a candidate’s ability to set goals and show an awareness of their professional development. 


Making a hiring decision


Regardless of the questions you ask, you may not know exactly what you are looking for. 

“When we choose someone, we are making sure they are a cultural fit. They are someone we enjoy spending time with, and have experienced positive interactions with” says Pippa. 

Remember the person you hire will be someone you are likely spending a lot of time with and will now have a stake in the business you started. Ensure they get along with your team, as every hire shifts your corporate culture, even if it’s ever so slightly. 


These questions should provide you a good starting point, to get the gears turning. But remember, this is not in any way an exhaustive list and does not cover any technical skill questions that might be necessary in a specific role. 

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