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The hard skill of Interviewing for hard skills – question types, tips, and techniques

Hard skills (or ‘teachable’ abilities) are at the core of so many jobs. Which means verifying that your candidates have those hard skills is critical for the hiring evaluation and selection process.

This, however, presents a challenge as there is such a vast array of hard skills, covering an endless variety of disciplines and experiences. Designing advertisements for social media, operating potentially dangerous manufacturing equipment, managing a sales team, coding in Java, teaching elementary age kids science… etc. are all examples of hard skills and are all completely different.

So how can you be sure your candidates have the hard skills you need in a way that is equitable and scalable? In other words, how can you cultivate the hard skill of interviewing for hard skills?

Much like interviewing for the skill of problem solving, the secret lies with using a combination of experience and performance questions.

By selecting the right combination of questions with effective techniques, your organization can fairly and accurately evaluate the critical hard skills you need in your next hires.

Here’s how.

Step 1 – Check the basics

Before spending both your teams and your candidates’ time evaluating how good the candidate is at a required hard skill, verify that they have it at all.

At the very beginning of the process, when screening candidates for the basic MUST HAVE requirements, screen for the hard skill.

This is often done through a