Hiring better candidates with value-based interview questions

Have you ever played matchmaker for two friends? Everything looks great on paper—they both love sci-fi, Scottish festivals, and stinky cheese—but after a few months, the relationship fizzles. It turns out, they weren’t a match when it came to what they each thought was important in life—their core values. And now you feel like a matchmaking failure.

Playing matchmaker between a company and a job seeker can be a similar process. You hire someone who looks great on paper and seems like the right fit during interviews. But eventually, it becomes apparent that something is missing. They just don’t have that extra spark. It could be that you’re missing out on candidates who share your company’s values. By making a strategic shift in your hiring process and asking value-based interview questions, you could drastically improve your matchmaking abilities.

What is value-based hiring?

Often, recruitment efforts focus heavily on experience and skills. While these characteristics are important, value-based hiring places special emphasis on the values, motives, and attitudes of the applicant pool. The idea is to identify the essential, core values of the organization and incorporate them into the recruitment process in order to hire more employees who share those key values.

How to identify your values

Of course, before you can jump in and start asking your next candidate value-based interview questions, you have to identify what your core values are. One way to zero in on these is to discuss them over a period of time at regular staff meetings. Ask team members at all levels what qualities the company embodies, and which values do and should guide how the company behaves.

It’s also important to know what values are especially important for a particular position. In that case, interview current employees in that position and ask questions such as:

  • If you were hiring someone for your position, what would you be looking for?
  • What skills help you do your job especially well?
  • Describe a difficult situation that you managed successfully.

From these types of inquiries, certain characteristics will stand out as particularly important, and you should narrow that list down to the top five or so.

Asking value-based interview questions

Once you’ve settled on your core values, you should be able to craft meaningful interview questions related to each one. The idea is to find candidates who can describe past behavior and achievements that match up with the values of your company. Don’t be afraid to ask for particulars—what specific steps did they take to overcome a challenge or succeed on a project?

For example, if you’re looking for an employee who values personal drive and self-motivation, you might ask your applicants to describe a time they had to really stretch themselves at work. If service is a key value, you could ask for examples of instances where they went above and beyond for a customer, and how they knew the customer was satisfied.

Once you have a set of questions that address your company’s most important qualities, you should prepare for the interview and plan to ask these same open-ended questions of every candidate. This will allow you to more objectively compare each of them with regard to the characteristics that matter most.

Improve your matchmaking with value-based hiring

Defining your company’s core values and asking potential hires value-based interview questions can make a very positive impact on your company’s productivity and growth. It can also work wonders for employee retention. Get expert advice and hiring tips from Monster Hiring Solutions to learn more about taking your recruitment efforts to the next level.