If you have recently taken the massive step of becoming self-employed or have just started your own business and now find yourself in the position that you need to start employing staff, it can be an exciting, yet daunting experience.

So we wanted to give you some insights into how to best navigate the tricky process of interviewing potential employees. It can be a difficult subject; people have different views on what to ask, what not to ask and what’s appropriate. Industries have their own method of interviewing and most follow the same process each time.

However, don’t be afraid to mix it up at times, not only will asking a variety of questions be more interesting for you but it will make you stand out to candidates and portray your company as an enjoyable place to work.

This article looks at the different aspects of an interview, the do’s, don’ts and what questions could make you stand out from the rest.

There are plenty of relevant questions that should be asked such as, ‘tell me about yourself,’ ‘why should we hire you’ and ‘when did you face a problem in the workplace and how did you solve it?’ How your candidate answers these will give you an insight into how they work and how they will fit in with the rest of the team.

Asking open ended questions like, ‘What do you do in your spare time/what are your hobbies?’ or ‘Tell us a fun fact about yourself’ are brilliant ice-breakers and will help you find out how the person will fit into your team without being too invasive.

Inappropriate questions can make a candidate feel uncomfortable, asking them about their marital status, whether they have children or continually commenting on their appearance can be deemed as discriminatory. Always be careful when asking about their lifestyle, there are ways to find out about their personal life, without getting too personal.

Inappropriate or invasive questions can make a candidate feel uncomfortable and some, such as “Are you married?” or “Do you have children?”, can be blatantly discriminatory and illegal. It’s best to avoid getting too familiar. You should never ask a candidate a situational type question that you wouldn’t like to answer yourself.

Even though the usual questions are a must, don’t be afraid to add a different spin on how you ask them. We recently had a candidate in for a position, the interviewer asked them, ‘What will we miss out on if we don’t hire you?’ Although the candidate was initially taken aback by the question, his answer was that his short commute to work would be a benefit as he would be happy to come in early or stay late when needed and would be more motivated to do this because of how close he lives to the offices, and it was how he answered that helped him get the position.

Another example is when a candidate was asked ‘name a song that best describes your work ethic?’ The answer was just as quirky as the questions, ‘the lazy song by Bruno mars.’ Although this was a risky answer, the interviewer saw the funny side and offered him the job.

Sometimes it’s important to come across unique as well as professional when interviewing potential recruits. There are many acceptable questions to ask that won’t be inappropriate or embarrassing, take the time out to research and prepare ahead of time.

Although choosing the right question can be a challenge at times, you will need to take the time to prepare and research to decide on the best questions that will help you recruit the best suited candidate for your company culture, as well as the role itself.

Ensure you have given the candidate a clear understanding of your company culture and the person you hire is competent and has the skills needed to do the job satisfactory. At the end of the day, you will be spending between 40-50 hours per week with this person, so you need to make sure you are asking the best questions to help you figure out whether they will be a good addition to your team.