Your business is booming, and things are going great. Then all of a sudden, you find out that a few of your customers are starting to complain about slow service. You investigate and discover that you are so busy, you are starting to drop the ball in some of your departments.
What do you do? Your team is already maxed out and working as hard as they can doing everything to keep the business running as well as possible. You finally accept the realization that you need to hire. You need to start looking for more skilled workers to fill the voids of your business to get things running smoothly again. And this is a great thing, of course. It means your business is growing. But sustaining that increase while keeping customers happy and products moving out the door means you need to bring on some help.
And that’s why we’re here to offer you some assistance.
You see, you can’t just go out there and hire anyone. This person has to be the best fit for your company. They have to fit the culture of your business, be a team player, but also have what it takes to get work done promptly. So now you have your job ad up online, and the resumes are flooding in. You sort them all and find some possible candidates that may fit the bill.
Now the real test comes – the interview. Not only can it be stressful for the candidate, it can be stressful for the interviewer too. We have done a number of interviews at my company, looking for talented people to work in our sales and development departments. We have been able to fine tune our interview process over the years to better select the top talent.
If you don’t know what to ask, you may not be doing yourself any good. This can lead to harm down the road. Here are five of the best questions to ask your candidates the next time you interview.
Tell us about a time you tried your best to complete a task, but in the end, things just didn’t work out.
No one is perfect. And you are not looking for perfection. What you are looking for, on the other hand, is someone who can step up to the plate and admit defeat. When someone can speak out about a failure, they give themselves and you the ability to work towards a joint resolution that benefits not only the employee but the company as well.
If someone is ultra confident and feels that the are never wrong, then you are going to have issues down the road. They may not be able to handle issues when they arise.
Tell us about a time you were given direction from a manager but knew it was the wrong way to do things. Did you continue with the task or did you speak up about a better way to do things?
This is a critical question because it involves the hierarchy of your company and an authoritative figure responsible for managing the employee. You want to see if the candidate can at least provide feedback to the company when they know of a better solution. Everyone’s experiences are different, and if you don’t allow your employees to speak up and have their voice heard, then you will never grow as a company.
There are numerous applicants for this job. What is your unique proposition that makes you a better selection than everyone else?
This question goes beyond the usual “why should we hire you.” By telling the candidate of the competition for the job, it makes them think deeply about why you should hire them. You want someone who is passionate about working for you. If they are not passionate to be there, then that will reflect negatively on you and your customers will suffer in the end.
What is your biggest weakness that would hinder your performance in this job if you were chosen?
Everyone can come up with great responses to what their strengths are, but when you ask people this one about their weaknesses, you are throwing them a curve ball. You want them to show vulnerability. Again, you are not looking for perfection. Things go wrong all the time in business.
What’s more important is that the candidate can handle the situation on their own and advise a supervisor if they need help.
What questions about the job or the company do you have for me today?
Many people ask “do you have any questions for me?” But this is a close ended question. By asking the question this way, you are leaving it open and ripe for a reply.
The goal of any interview question is to get the prospect to open up. The more they talk and the more you listen, the more you will learn about who they are, how they think and whether or not they will be a match for your company culture. Too often candidates come in with super human strength. Everything about what they say and how they say it is perfect. The business world is not a perfect place. You need to ensure that people have what it takes to think for themselves.
These questions add a human element to your process. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and distinct work experiences. Find the true gems who will work well with others in your company, care about your business and enjoy doing what they do. When you have the right formula in place, you are sure to find the perfect candidate.
A version of this post originally appeared here.