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The Unconventional Guide to Work

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5 Interview Questions to Find the Right Hire

Job_ScrabbleWe all know the colleagues we love working with every day. They usually have a few common characteristics, including:

  • A team player spirit.
  • Self-motivated.
  • The drive to help themselves, their teammates and the company succeed.
  • A positive attitude that brightens up the company culture.
  • The creativity, intelligence and confidence to bring new ideas to the table.
  • An organized and detail-oriented approach to projects.

As your small business grows, it pays to bring on the right professionals the first time. According to Undercover Recruiter, the cost of hiring a second-level manager who earns $62k/year and gets terminated after 2.5 years may run up to approximately $840,000.

To help you get your next hire right, we’ve put together five open-ended questions to ask during your interview process. The interviewee’s answers can help get a better understanding of who they are, their motivations and personality.

1. Why do you want to work at our company?

This question will quickly weed out those looking for any job versus those that value your company and its work.

Look for hires that can state very specific reasons why your company is the place for them. Ideally they exhibit a more intimate understanding of the type of work you do, who you work with, and the employees that work for you. Their answers should demonstrate that they’ve done their research. 

Be sure their perception of your company aligns with reality to avoid disappointing new hires and risk them quitting prematurely. 

2. What brought you to this industry? What makes you stay?

Beyond having a desire to work for your company, a passion for the industry you operate in will be key.

Ask about what drew them to work in your industry in the first place, and ask what’s kept their interest. Look for those that are able to speak passionately about the customers, the work, and the opportunities they see for the industry down the road. This will be key to discovering if their interest is superficial, or something deeper.

3. What motivates you in the workplace? What drives you personally?

Without motivation, it’s hard to get the job done, even with the simplest of tasks. Motivation can’t be learned, and must come from within; it can’t be entirely dependent on outside factors, such as a flashy salary or advancement opportunities. Instead, look for answers that share: 

  • A natural curiosity and drive to learn.
  • Desire to support teammates in pursuit of a greater goal.
  • Examples of how they’ve remained committed in spite of failure.

Additionally, leadership coach Krisit Hedges (@kristihedges), suggests analyzing candidate resumes and profiles a bit deeper to gain the insight you’ll need to gauge an individual’s motivational track record.

  • Take a look at work history and pay particular attention to length of stay and any notable signs of advancement within companies or roles.
  • Explore each candidate’s outside interests—either noted as a part of the resume or discovered through your own background research on public social media profiles. Those that are motivated at work are often motivated outside of the office too. 

4. If this job were to begin tomorrow, what would be the first 1-2 items on your priority list?

Look for project examples that demonstrate a desire to better understand their role, employees and the company. You want someone who will come in and grow from within existing structures instead of trying to change the culture to fit their ideal. Look for answers like:

  • Learning about internal systems and processes.
  • Introducing themselves to their team and other co-workers.
  • Dive into established training.
  • Interview managers and other department heads to gain a well-rounded understanding of the organization.

5. Do you have any questions?

If a person is looking for a career, they should be interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. For this reason they should come with a number of questions about the job, responsibilities, career path opportunities, and so on. 

A lack of questions could indicate limited motivation, and be a sign that to them, your company is just another job and a paycheck. 

Decision Time: Trust Your Gut

When you have a pressing need, its understandable to feel anxious, and to just hire someone capable. Avoid giving in, and be selective about who gets hired. Trust your instincts, and be protective of your company’s core values and the culture you and your employees have created.

Interested in more on this topic? Dive into a few other valuable resources: 

What questions help you filter out the best of the candidate pool? Share in the comment section below.

Image Source: Flazingo.com under Creative Commons