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10 Tips for Developing Interview Questions

Questions are the heart and soul of the interview process. They invite answers that demonstrate the technical proficiency, mindset, and cultural fitness of the candidates. 

However, research shows that 34% of candidates have experienced discriminatory interview questions. Such questions can lead to a biased interview process, a poor candidate experience, and even bad hires. It’s imperative for HR professionals to develop fair, effective, and relevant interview questions. 

Let’s check out 10 tips for developing interview questions that reduce bias and help you learn about your potential candidates. 

1. Understand the requirements of the role

When developing interview questions, HR professionals need to understand the requirements of that particular role. This ensures that the interview questions are aligned to accurately reflect the role’s demands. Similarly, it guarantees the relevance of the questions and increases the chances of selecting candidates with the right skills to excel in that role.

A firm grasp of the job requirements also helps HR professionals reduce bias—they’ll write relevant and non-discriminatory interview questions.

To identify the key competencies necessary for a position, HR professionals can review the job description, research industry trends, conduct job analysis, and consult hiring managers and subject-matter experts.        

2. Recognize bias 

Bias awareness when writing interview questions is an effective way to nip unconscious bias in the bud during recruitment. Biased interview questions can alienate candidates or cause subjective evaluation, leading to a negative candidate experience. Recognizing and mitigating bias ensures that the interview questions are objective and fair for all the candidates. 

Comprehensive training on the different kinds of bias and bias recognition exercises can build the bias awareness of HR professionals.    

3. Focus on technical skills

Another tip for developing interview questions is to hone in on the technical skills essential for job performance. Structured interview questions that assess candidates’ technical skills ensure that candidates are evaluated based on their ability to perform effectively. 

Such questions increase the chances of making quality hires which can give the employer a competitive advantage in their industry. Since they’re ideal for objective evaluation, they also reduce the risk of bias during interviews.

When creating interview questions, come up with questions that focus on the technical competencies necessary for the role—whether knowledge of software development frameworks, proficiency in data analysis, or experience with cybersecurity tools, to name a few examples.  

4. Integrate behavioral questions

When creating interview questions, HR professionals should make sure to include some behavioral questions. Questions that quiz candidates on their past behaviors and experiences are ideal for learning about those candidates. They can give insight into the candidate’s soft skills, thought processes, and tendencies.

Also, these questions focus on concrete examples of past behavior instead of hypothetical scenarios. As a result, they help evaluate candidates based on objective evidence instead of assumptions or subjective impressions.     

5. Prioritise testing problem-solving ability

The candidates’ problem-solving capacity should be front and center when developing interview questions. Questions that test this critical skill reveal the candidates’ creativity, adaptability, and resourcefulness. 

Besides assessing the candidates’ ability to prevent problems from worsening, behavioral questions can also provide a structured approach to interviewing. The questions are objectively scored, probe deeper into candidates’ responses, and target core risk management skills. This also mitigates any form of bias that may creep up.    

6. Craft open-ended and future-oriented questions

Open-ended interview questions prompt candidates to provide detailed answers to questions. While they can give valuable insight into the motivations, thought processes, and competencies of the candidates, they can also make the interview process more engaging and interactive. 

Also, future-oriented questions help HR professionals identify which candidates will prove more beneficial in the long term by assessing their longevity and growth potential within the organization. They can help envision the candidate’s role in the organization’s development.    

7. Structure the questions 

Vital tips for developing interview questions also include structuring the questions. When creating the questions, it’s important to gradually increase their difficulty and complexity. This will ensure that candidates feel comfortable at the start. 

Another element of structuring the interview questions is to be consistent with what is being asked. Consistent questioning is a pillar of the standardized interview process. By arranging the same questions for all candidates applying for the same role, HR professionals can effectively reduce bias and maintain control of the interview.     

8. Prepare to invite questions

As HR professionals create interview questions, it’s important to recognize that candidates should ask questions too. Such a gesture transforms the interview from a traditional one-way street to the ideal dynamic conversation it should be. The opportunity to ask questions can work wonders for employer branding, address candidate concerns, and even demonstrate each candidate’s preparedness for the role. 

So, when developing interview questions, consider adding a statement that explicitly invites questions from candidates after each round of questioning.   

9. Work with a panel

Working with a team when developing interview questions offers multiple benefits. First, it allows HR professionals to explore diverse perspectives and leverage the expertise of panel members to develop comprehensive interview questions. Second, it encourages consensus building and quality assurance as multiple individuals agree on the competencies required and review interview questions. 

This collaboration also mitigates any individual biases that may affect the development of interview questions, leading to a fair evaluation of candidates.    

10. Gauge the effectiveness of each question

As you develop interview questions, assess the effectiveness of each one to ensure they’re relevant and aligned with the requirements of the role. Also, check for clarity to avoid misinterpretation and enable candidates to provide accurate answers. Vetting each question also offers the opportunity to spot and uproot potential sources of bias such as assumptions or leading language.     

The right interview questions can be a game-changer. Leverage these pointers on how to write interview questions to gain the most insight about your candidates and mitigate bias at the interview. Lastly, in addition to the right questions, if you’re looking for how to interview well, use this trick.