Your business has been doing well and you’re looking to expand your overhead. Congratulations! But how do you ensure that you’re hiring the most qualified candidates and not putting yourself at risk of an under-performing or difficult team member? As good as an applicant’s resume may be, the interview is your best chance to get to know a potential hire’s true character and what working with them might be like.
Business experts agree that the interview is the most important part of the hiring process, so how do you make the most of the opportunity? Try asking these questions:
1. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
If this question seems informal, it’s because it is. Interviews are high-stress situations and it’s important to break the ice; you’ll get the best answers out of a relaxed applicant. Finding out their interests and personality is also useful because this is a personal you’ll be interacting with daily, so you’ll want to know if they’ll be a good fit.
2. What do you know about our company?
This question is important because it gauges how interested the prospect is in working for you, and the lengths they will go to in order to prepare for an interview. This can forecast how serious they are about their work and whether or not they’re someone who is willing to go the extra mile.
3. Why do you want to leave your current position?
Understanding why the applicant wants to leave his or her job will give you a great insight into what motivates them. Someone who is looking for more money may be less than totally loyal, while someone who wants to take on more responsibilities shows dedication and ambition.
4. Tell me about the toughest negotiation you’ve ever been in.
Every job some sort of negotiation – with customers, with vendors, or with other employees. The real value of this question isn’t in gauging their direct negotiation skills but in seeing how they navigate difficult situations. A good negotiator can lay out both sides of an issue, which also makes them a good problem solver.
5. What three character traits would your friends use to describe you?
People are used to describing themselves and usually see themselves in the best possible light. Asking them how others describe them gives you a better perspective on how well they get along with others and how they work as part of a team.
6. What’s one thing you would like to do better? What’s your plan for improving?
This question is sometimes phrased as “What was your biggest failure?” but it’s important to stay positive in order to avoid knee-jerk answers from nervous applicants. This question is useful on multiple levels. Besides the obvious, you are also gauging their ability to self-evaluate and manage themselves.
7. Tell me about a time that conflict occurred in one of your work groups and what did you do about it.
Your new employee will likely deal with conflict on a daily basis. Knowing how to resolve conflict is an important point for anyone you consider. It’s also important that your new hire can interact well with the rest of your staff.
8. What are you looking for in terms of career development?
Money isn’t a good motivator for dedicated employees – without a deeper desire to work with you, you may lose them when a higher-paying position appears or when they no longer need the money. The best employees are always looking to improve themselves and have a passion for what they do.
9. Describe the work environment in which you will most effectively be able to contribute.
Different businesses have different cultures (some are laid back, some are well-regimented). Understanding what works best for the applicant will help you decide if they match the kind of business you run.
10. Do you have any questions for me?
The sad truth is people don’t always go to interviews eager to take the job. They may be applying for interview practice or as a backup to a preferred job opportunity. The ideal candidate has taken a real interest in your company and is ambitious enough to have questions prepared to ask you.
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