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Playing 20 Questions When Hiring New Employees - Profitable Only When The Right Questions Are Asked

Dec 22, 2007
Personnel management is the bane of existence for the majority of small business entrepreneurs. About as enjoyable as fundraising and yet as crucial as proper tax accounting, failure to ask the right questions during a job interview may result in your permitting a person onto your staff roster who will be a liability to your company. Of course, the traditional questions asked during an interview are trite at best, and reveal little if anything of value about the potential employee at worst.

Questions that invite canned answers will only tell you one thing about the potential employee: she or he has read the same literature as you, is aware of how the game is played, and knows the right answers to give. Other than that, you will not gain much of value by asking somebody about their role model, greatest strength or weakness, and reason why they think you should hire them. Instead, toss the trite questions and focus on the candidate by looking for seven traits that will show them to be a good fit for the position you are trying to fill.

1. The candidate's qualifications must match the job opening. While experience is nice, talent to grow into a position is better at times.

2. Cleverness and acumen will guarantee an employee who can think on her or his feet.

3. Having initiative always beats waiting for directions.

4. Honesty presented with tact is worth its weight in gold. Do not hire a person who will not tell you honestly what they think of a plan, product, or idea.

5. Find out how a candidate uses her or his life experience to deal with obstacles.

6. Understand what motivates a person. Money will give you a self serving worker.

7. Is this a likeable person? Remember that you will spend your waking hours with them and so will the rest of your staff.

While these traits will help to weed out potential duds, you can only adequately gage their presence or absence by asking the right questions. Here are 10 examples of what you could ask about in an open ended way:

1. Find out where the candidate is from and how they got to be where they are at professionally.

2. Learn where a candidate's passion lies by finding out about their favorite job.

3. Find out what a candidate dislikes and do not put them in a job that requires it.

4. Get to know their expectation of a good boss and see if it matches you.

5. Learn how a candidate works to accomplish something they are proud of by asking about their greatest job related success and how it was achieved.

6. Get to know the opposite: find out how a candidate went about dealing with or fixing something that did not turn out right the first time around by recounting their worse job related experience and what they did in its aftermath.

7. Ask about a calamity that befell the candidate in their personal life and how they handled it. This will require tact!

8. Ask about the aspects of the position you are seeking to fill that appeal to the candidate.

9. Learn about the person's hobbies. Opposed to popular opinion, this is not a trite question but instead a great way to learn something about the candidate on a personal level.

10. Get the candidate to share her or his thoughts on the ideal work environment. This will give you clues to their need for structure or freedom.
About the Author
Dustin Cannon, of Next Level Enterprises, LLC is a successful Internet marketer working with top leaders in the home business and Internet marketing industry. For more information visit: CoOpForGRN.com
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