I’ve been outsourcing overseas for about 5 years. Sure, I have people that work with me in the US, but there’s a time when the world is truly flat. Finding just the right employees for your outsourced jobs isn’t as simple as putting a post on desk and picking the first person that sounds decent. Particularly for larger jobs, it’s important to interview them. In order to get the best quality information from your interviews, develop a list of questions in advance and be prepared to answer questions yourself. Base your questions off both the job specs and the person’s resume. Here are a few tips for both preparing questions and conducting an interview.
Ask open-ended questions
Many interviewers come with a checklist of skills they want to have in an applicant. However, just ticking off items on a list tells you little about them.
Instead, try to stay away from questions that have a yes or no answer. For example, rather than asking “Do you have experience in…?”, ask “What kind of experience do you have in…?”
Give them time to answer
Be patient and give the interviewee time to think about their answer, especially when you are asking a difficult question. Don’t jump in and ask another question just because they haven’t answered right away. Remember, you are there to listen for the most part. If you’re not sure the person understood the question, you can ask if they need it clarified.
Ask about strengths AND weaknesses
Most interviewers tend to just ask about the skills that they need for a particular job. However, if you ask about other strengths, you’ll get an idea of what else the candidate could help with in the future. You might even find that there are other tasks you could outsource to this person.
In addition, ask the interviewee about skills that they don’t feel they are good at. Everyone has weaknesses. Knowing what they are in advance means you can avoid unrealistic expectations.
Ask about challenges they have faced
Find out what types of challenges they have had to deal with in previous jobs. For example, what was the most difficult project they worked on? Why was it a challenge? How did they handle it?
You’ll get a good sense of the other person through finding out what they consider a challenge and by how they describe it. For example, if they saw everything as a problem, it could indicate that they don’t enjoy complicated tasks. On the other hand, if they view challenges as opportunities to learn something new, you know that they have a greater capacity to tackle jobs that are not as clearly defined.
Ask about what they are most proud of
What a person is proud of can tell you a lot about their character and what they value. Find out what they consider their biggest achievements. Why do they think they were successful? What is it about the achievement that made them feel proud?
Finally, remember that this isn’t just your interview. Good outsourcers can be picky about the jobs they take and they may be in demand. As you conduct your interviews, make sure you give your interviewees time to ask questions as well. You are being interviewed at the same time, even if you don’t realize it.