Mentoring Best Practices

4 Effective Questions to Find the Best Employees

You may have a good idea of the type of person you want and what the job duties consist of, but how do you find out if an applicant is suitable.

There is surprisingly little useful information out there on how to conduct a job interview and find the right employees for the job. You may have a good idea of the type of person you want and what the job duties of a vacancy consists of, but that doesn’t mean you know how to find out if an applicant is suitable.

The most obvious way to tell if an applicant can fill the shoes of a vacancy is by looking at their past job record. Do they have a history or high performance in a similar role from another company? People with decorated work records are not always available and they usually don’t come cheap as their experience is invaluable. If there is no obvious applicant who can take over a job how do you find someone who has the basic personality and traits who can be easily molded into a productive employee?

Here are four out of the box interview questions you can as applicants to see how they would fit into your team.

One - What is the most difficult problem you have had to tackle professionally?

This gets the job candidate to immediately dive into their work ethics, problem solving skills, strengths and tenacity. You’ll likely get an interesting story out of the candidate as well.

Asking this question is a lot better than saying: “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.” You need to get out of the pat interview questions or else you will get useless pat answers. This questions will make your candidate think before answering. You will also get a good idea of what the applicant considers a difficult problem. 

If you are looking for an HR manager or team leader and the answer you get is something silly like they had to find a way to fix a fax machine you probably don’t want to hire them. On the other hand, you might have an unfound gem of a prospect in front of you who is a dynamic problem solver that no one else has discovered. Asking this questions will help you determine who you are talking to.

Two - Why are you working in this field?

A typical interview question is: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” There was a time when this was a useful question, but the landscape of today’s workplace which is quickly becoming dominated by millennials has made it obsolete.

Today, most employees go through a rotation of professions and change jobs frequently. We are seeing less employees get a job, stick with one company and climb a corporate ladder over years and years. Many employees come in with the intention of working for a year or less. The thing that keeps talented employees around is how well they fit into the company's culture and feel connected.

Asking why they got into the field gives you all their relevant background data and also will give you a sense of how they will fit into your company culture.

Three - Here’s a problem we’re working to solve. Tell me in five min how’d you start to solve it.

This puts your applicant in the hot seat. You’ll see the speed of their critical thinking and problem solving abilities in action.

Make it clear this is a very informal exercise. You don’t want them mapping out an entire business plan in a job interview. Give the applicant a real problem that you are working on or maybe a problem that was effectively solved in previous years. Either way, the applicant's ability to do the job he or she is applying for will be on full display helping you to make a better decision to hire them or not.

Four - What disagreements have you had in the past with superiors? How did you resolve them?

This question will tell you if you have a team player on your hands or not.

Not all superiors and managers are easy to work with so don’t write-off the applicant if they didn’t get along with a previous employer. People have conflicts. It’s a fact of life and there is no way to get anything done without some conflict arising. What you want to know is how the disagreements and conflicts were dealt with.

Get the applicant to tell you how they approach superiours when they don’t agree with something. It’ll tell you a lot about the applicant and you can make a decision if they are someone you want on your team or not.

Mentor Resources can help any company to leverage technology to create tailored career development programs that are cost-effective. Our mentoring software - Wisdom Share is a cloud-based program that is simple and comes with guided workflows. Included are tools for administrators to attract, enroll, connect, and guide participants. We also provide analytics to ensure you can monitor your employee development program and easily see ROI metrics. 

Reach out to us today for a Free Demonstration of our software. 

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