Interviewing employees can be quite the challenge. How do you find quality individuals to do a consistently outstanding job for you? I’m a big proponent of hiring for values before skills. So, how do you get to the heart of somebody? How do you determine whether that individual has values that align with your business’s core philosophy?
5 of my favorite interview questions:
1. Share a time where you went above and beyond for the client.
This question is one of my favorites because I believe that service is important regardless of the position. Even if you have an employee that’s behind the scenes, this person should still have a team mentality. And, a team mentality requires that every employee, serve one one another. I want to make sure that this person knows what it means to go above and beyond… whether it is for a client, or for me, or for a coworker of theirs.
2. Tell me about a situation where you faced a huge challenge (in a work situation). How did you solve the problem?
I want problem solvers. I want people who can think out-of-the-box. I want people who are resourceful and creative. Again, regardless of the position, I want people who are thinkers. In my stationery business, I hired assembly workers. Even though this wasn’t a highly analytical job, I needed to be confident that an employee would be able to do damage control in a time of crisis. This didn’t change the fact that I still needed to TRAIN my employees. But, knowing that employee of mine is a good problem-solver is going to make my job a bit easier so that I don’t have to hover over them while they work.
3. Tell me about a situation where you made a mistake in your job, and how you fixed it.
Again, I want to get a better feel for how this potential employee solves problems. I also want to make sure that, if a mistake is made in the job, this personal takes responsibility for it. Mistakes do happen. How do we move past them?
4. How do you deal with tedium and repetition? (insert your situational description)
This is a very specific question that I used to ask people that I was interviewing for invitation assembly. When you’re constructing thousands of invitations that are all the same, you can get extremely bored. But some people really love the rhythmic nature of putting something together repeatedly. (I found it to be incredibly cathartic, personally.) I want to know that they will thrive in that situation, or have strategies to push through.
This question should be tailored to the nature of the job for which you’re interviewing. Basically, you want to get a question that addresses the worst aspect of the job that you’re asking for. If it’s invitation assembly, it’s tedium and repetition. If you’re interviewing for a wedding planner associate, you’d likely want to ask how to deal with difficult people. A good question might be: “How do you deal with people yelling at you?” The goal is to put that candidate in the position that they might face in the job (a worst-case-scenario) and find out how they would react.
5. How would you benefit by having this job?
(In other words, what sort of experience are you looking to gain? What motivates you to work for my business?)
I’m a firm believer in being a mentor to any of my employees. If I know upfront what motivates someone to work for me, I can determine whether this job is a good fit for that person. You see… hiring an employee is more than just filling a role in my business. I really want to know if this job is going to help somebody out in terms of their future. It could be an entry-level job for somebody who’s in college… and I want to know what sort of experience this will give that person in their “real job.” Or, it could be somebody that is looking for a secondary job to just pay the bills… and that’s fine. If I know upfront what motivates this person to apply for this position, it makes it so much easier for me to customize their job a little bit more so they have more job satisfaction. I have found that this gives people an incredible amount of loyalty. If I’m invested in this employee’s future and career, then they are going to be a lot more invested in my business.
What do you think? What are your favorite questions to ask in an interview? Please share and comment below.
If you want to know more about hiring, training, and managing employees, make sure to check out our human resources toolbox, The People Plan: www.thepeopleplan.biz .