I read this article from Forbes this morning called Five Interview Questions To Stop Asking Job Seekers -- And Five To Start Asking by Liz Ryan. There is some great advice and thoughts in this article. It led me to think about the whole interview process from both sides of the equation, for both the interviewer and job seeker. It led me to this piece of advice. If you do one thing, be authentic. Let authenticity be your guiding principle through the hiring process.
If you are the interviewer, be genuine. Be yourself and most importantly, be humane. Demonstrate a true interest in the candidate, his or her story, motivations, and experience (work and life). If you must get specific technical questions answered, be upfront about it. Think about saying, "As part of the process of hiring for this position, I need to gather this information." As the interviewer, you represent your company's culture. After meeting you, would the candidate want to work for your company? How did your represent the organization? Be intentional with every conversation and you will find that it's not the questions that matter, but the manner in which you ask them.
For the job seeker, I recommend the same. Represent yourself honestly and seek to understand the company, the role, and how it fits into the overall organization. Be curious. Ask questions to understand how success will be measured for the position and how it fits into the big picture. Discuss relevant experience and accomplishments as it relates to what you have learned in the conversation about the role. Remember the interviewer is a person and not there to just lead you through a series of questions. How would you talk to this person if you were grabbing a cup of coffee with him or her? After the interview, ask yourself if you were the interviewer would you want to hire yourself?
In my experience, the best interviews happen when you have an authentic conversation. You can learn a great deal more about someone by engaging him or her in a genuine manner. You will find that both interviewer and candidate open up much more when engaged in this manner. So, not matter what questions you choose to ask or not, remember to KEEP IT REAL! Even if the job is not right for the candidate, it will be a much better experience for both of you.
Here is a great movie scene from Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams calls out Matt Damon's character on being less than authentic. He gets very real!