You know the situation - you have three job applicants booked in to meet with you.  In some way you dread the process.  You think to yourself, “I hope I pick the right one. I hope I ask the right questions.”  

Well, here are some hints on how to get the "right" person:

  • Why did you leave your last job?

This is a very basic question, but it provides a lot of insight into the person you are speaking to.  As they answer the question, look to see how they phrase their answer.  

Do they have a valid reason for leaving?  Do they seem to blame their last employer or boss? It was a terrible place to work, everyone gossiped, “My boss was totally unreasonable.”  Have they taken responsibility for the outcome? It wasn’t the most productive place to work, and I didn’t want to settle for it, “My boss and I had different ideas on what was reasonable.” 

Look closely at whether they take responsibility for them leaving or make excuses and blame others.

  • Tell me how you would deal with a dissatisfied customer?

You can get some great insights into people by how well they handle negative feedback.  Give your applicant a scenario. Imagine a customer phoned up and complained. 

Does their answer focus on justifying what happened or do they try to understand the customer better by asking questions and getting to the bottom of the issue?

  • What role do you usually play when working in a team?

There are no right or wrong answers to this question.  It just lets you know how the applicant sees themselves.  If you are looking to employ someone to lead the team, you will be expecting a different answer than if you are looking for someone to follow an existing supervisor/manager. 

 You will also learn about a person’s real strengths by asking this question.

  • What three words would you use to describe yourself?

You may have already picked up whether they are fun and outgoing or reserved and conscientious.  But see how they perceive themselves.  

Also check to ensure that their response aligns with your observations, make sure they aren’t just telling you what they think you might want to hear.

  • What has been your biggest achievement in life so far?

This can tell you what their priorities in life are.  It will also tell you how big an achiever they are.  

A highly ambitious person will tell you about how they won at something, while a steady person will discuss how they survived a particular situation.

  • What are your goals in life?

Do they have a plan for their career and life?  Consider how the job you are offering might fit in with their plan.  Don’t discount a person just because they don’t have a clear answer to this question but do push them on it to see what is important to them.

Most importantly, look into the persons eyes and keep asking yourself can I trust this person to do the job I require. 

“Only Action gets you closer to your dreams - do something today that your future self will thank you for.”


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