As a business owner, the role of a hiring manager is just one of the many hats you may wear. It's in your best interest to thoroughly vet your applicants, as, the quality of workers that you hire has a profound effect on the quality of your business.
How can you choose the best talent for your operation? These interview questions can help you select the most qualified individuals.
Name a challenge you have faced at work and how you overcame it.
Situational questions are always a good way to gain insight into an applicant's past work experience. This specific question on overcoming the challenge will allow you to hone-in on a person's ability to manage problems. Let's face it, there are often challenges within a small business from day-to-day. You want to hire someone who can face these challenges and resolve them effectively.
Name a time you offered help outside of your job description.
You wear many hats to run a business and so will the employees that you hire. "That's not my job," is the last thing you want to hear a new hire say. With this question, you can gauge their experience doing work outside of their job description and their willingness to offer a helping hand.
Give an example of a time you led a group.
This question is necessary particularly when you're hiring someone for a supervisory role. You can't be at work all of the time and you'll need some people who have leadership qualities to oversee the staff. After listening to their answer, you can identify whether or not they have the ability to take responsibility for others in your absence.
What was the outcome of a time you worked independently?
This topic is similar to the one above, but it focuses on someone's ability to work without supervision. You want to be able to trust that an employee can get the job done without you constantly micromanaging them. You also need someone comfortable making decisions with limited direction. Based on their answer you can determine whether an applicant's ability to act without guidance meets your expectations.
Tell me about a time you had to resolve a customer complaint, step by step.
Happy customers are what keep you in business, and you need to find out while interviewing if someone can provide quality service. This question will give you insight into the steps they've taken to handle client issues in the past. Ask applicants how they addressed a customer complaint, found a solution and then closed the communication loop.
Why are you looking for a new position?
People tend to look for a new job when they're unhappy or dissatisfied with their current one. It's worth exploring their reason for wanting to move on to ensure you're a good match. You may find their desire to move stems from work challenges that you also face at your small business. These are challenges you can address upfront to benefit you and the applicant.
Where do you see yourself in the next two to three years?
Filling job vacancies is expensive and time-consuming. And you hope that the person you hire intends to stay put for a little while. Asking about their future will give you an idea of their plans. You'll never know if someone's planning a cross-country relocation or backpacking gap year in Europe unless you ask. Based on their answer you can decide whether their future is compatible with the needs of your business.
Why should we hire you over other applicants?
This question allows an applicant to shine during an interview. It's an opportunity for them to have complete control of their answer and to explain to you why they've got what it takes to join your small business. They may also touch on valuable skills you didn't cover during the rest of the interview that you can follow up on.
Hiring new employees can be a difficult process and sometimes it's hard to tell whether someone is a good fit for your business. But if you ask inquisitive questions and encourage applicants to describe experiences (as outlined above), you'll be able to better qualify people that apply to work for you.
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Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all-inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may apply to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your legal advisor regarding the specific application of the information to your plan.
Editors Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.