First thing to know as you start reading this: there are no magic formulas for making good hiring decisions.
Whether you’ve hired 2 or 200 employees during your career, the interview doesn’t get any easier. Because even while other parts of the hiring process can be automated, the interview is still a person-to-person exercise that is subjective and inherently biased.
It’s not just candidates who get interview anxiety. Most business owners I work with are scared of making the wrong choice because they’ve been burned before. Does this sound familiar? “It’s a shame that we had to let him go … he couldn’t do the job, but he interviewed so well.”
It’s tough to rely on interviews because there are just so many variables – like whether the candidate is the first or the tenth person being interviewed that day, or if the interviewer is distracted by other pressing tasks. Even the weather can have an impact on the impression a person makes.
With that in mind, the sole purpose of the interview is to see how closely a candidate seems to fit your hiring profile. Does he communicate the way you need him to in the job? Does she demonstrate the level of critical thinking your business requires? Does he express the amount of curiosity, flexibility, enthusiasm, ambition, or any other trait you consider important for the future success of an employee?
Jedi mind tricks don’t exist (or do they)? So, in order to get an idea of a person’s true tendencies and personality, we need a practical method to elicit honest answers from him.
These aren’t the brain teasers that some Silicon Valley companies like to torture their interns with. These are questions for the rest of us who are just trying to make the best picks for our team. They’re simple and straightforward – but the way in which a person responds to them is more revealing than any puzzle solution.
If you were given your boss’ job tomorrow, what would you do differently than him or her?
This may sound like a trick question but it’s not. No one believes his boss does everything right. A candidate’s answer will reveal how much he pays attention to the operations and management of his workplace. It also quickly reveals if he’s capable of sharing objective criticism without being negative.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Get people talking about their hobbies, sports, or passions and you’ll quickly learn what they value and what drives them.
Tell me about your professional and personal goals … what are you working for?
Purpose is important. Goals and objectives are important. This question will reveal if the candidate is only interested in the job for a paycheck. If she is, don’t hire her.
What are your priorities for selecting your next job?
If the candidate can communicate specifics, it’s a sign that she wants to make the right choice too. You’ll also know if you can match her criteria.
Ask these 4 questions in every interview. Every. Single. One. Not only will you be able to compare candidates to each other in a fair, objective way. It’ll also up your confidence level with every hiring choice you make.