Ever hired an employee that didn’t live up to expectations? Or didn’t mesh with your company culture? When you’re growing your agency you don’t have the time or resources to waste on boarding and training employees who aren’t a good fit. But hiring is HARD and you’re BUSY, so how do you expedite the process and get quality talent?
One way is to follow the seven-step hiring process I created. I know seven steps doesn’t exactly scream “quick,” but the amount of time you’ll save by hiring right the first time makes it worth it (plus, it’s easier than you think). One of the most important parts in the process is the face-to-face interview. You’re finally meeting the candidate who may be the piece of the puzzle that your agency is missing. The only way to really find out is to ask the right questions. Questions that don’t proceed pre-canned and rehearsed responses. Questions that get right to the core of the candidate and give you the insight you need to make the right decision. Questions like these….
Agency Specific Interview Questions
Asking questions about your agency is a great way to measure how prepared and how dedicated a candidate is. If a candidate looks great on paper and has all of the necessary hard skills, but can’t answer agency-specific questions, then they aren’t a good fit. They either don’t care enough about the position to do a quick Google search or preparation just isn’t in their nature. Whatever the reason, they’re unlikely to be a good fit.
In the early stages of your agency it’s especially important to ask these questions because you need people who are invested in your agency from the get go. The most interested and passionate candidates will be familiar with your core values, service offerings, and company culture. Instead of asking, “What do you know about our agency?” which can lead to a generic and made up response, ask one of these more specific questions:
- How could we improve our website?
- Which one of our core values do you identify the most with?
- What do you expect to find at this agency that you didn’t get from your previous/current employer?
- Based on what you know about this job, how would you describe it to a 5 year-old?
Some interviewers are against hypothetical interview questions, stating that knowing what to do and actually doing it don’t always go hand in hand. And while there is some truth to that, hypotheticals aren’t completely worth discounting. They can offer valuable insight and put candidates to the test.
Ideally, candidates would be able to tell a story about a previous experience and then they would elaborate on what went right/wrong, and how to handle it a second time around. But one of the benefits about using hypothetical questions is that you can ask them if you’re hiring for an entry-level position. This is great because you can get insight from candidates even though they have very little relevant experience to pull from.
Of course, some hypotheticals are designed specifically because the situation has never (and most likely will never) happen. Hypotheticals open the floodgates for creativity and quick thinking. The more creative the question the more likely you are to get an answer that wasn’t rehearsed. Try some of the questions below:
- You have a big deadline coming up at work and a new high-priority item gets handed to you. How do you proceed?
- Let’s say you’re giving a presentation and during that presentation a member of the audience keeps stopping you and diverting you. What would you do?
- You’re in charge of a team and one of the members is performing poorly and missing deadlines, how would you handle this situation?
- So let’s say you get hired and your first assignment is to plan the company christmas party. You’ve got a budget of $5000, what would you do?
Outside the Box Questions
The interview process can be so formal, uptight, and nerve wracking. Is that really what your agency is all about? Try tossing in an “out of the box” question to lighten the mood, leave an impression on the candidate, and get valuable insight.
These questions aren’t really about the candidate giving a right or wrong answer, but about the thought process behind it. You can see how a copywriter articulates themselves, how a data analyst solves problems, and how well anybody will fit into your company culture. Pay attention to their body language and their immediate reaction. The most important thing is that the candidate has fun with these questions and isn’t intimidated by them.
- Describe the color yellow to someone who can’t see it.
- Tell me a joke.
- If I was talking to your best friend, what is one thing they would say you need to work on?
- How many square feet of pizza is consumed in the US each year?
Next time you’re hiring, consider adding in these unusual agency interview questions and see how they add value to your agency’s hiring process. Do you have standard go-to questions you ask in interviews? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.