If you have read some of my articles, you know I am a big advocate for investing time and effort into the hiring process and believe that developing attitude profiles and specific questions for the positions you are hiring for. However, I am also a pragmatist and know how busy you have been over the summer and most likely you have not had the time to sit down with your HR department to develop profiles and questions for uncovering a potential hires attitude profile.
I came across a simple set of questions in an INC. magazine article which I believe you could tailor for your hiring. There are only 5 questions and they are simple.
1. Describe the Best Moment You’ve Had at Work
Instead of asking an applicant to list his or her strengths, look for a more personal story about his/her best moments on the job. Is the candidate talking about an impressive success in the face of adversity, or is he/she talking about how great he/she finds his/her current company’s sick leave policy (which would suggest he/she may not be a reliable hire)?
Also listen to see if the candidate’s focusing solely on herself or also mentioning team members that helped lead to the successful moment. Does she mention specific deliverables and measurable results (i.e., our new work flow increased our output X %), or stick with vague generalities like “I think I’ve helped”? Not only will the story of a favorite moment tell you more about the candidate than a memorized answer about his or her strengths, but it will kick off the interview on a positive note. After all, people love sharing their strengths and achievements.
2. What Business Would You Start Tomorrow if You Could?
Always use this question to replace the old “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Now a lot of your potential hires might be too young to have this vision but I suggest asking and see where it takes the conversation. Too often, people think you want to hear: “I see myself here, supporting you,” which doesn’t tell you anything. It also puts the candidate in an uncomfortable position, because answering truthfully might come off like, “I’ll just be here until I can get something better.” By asking about the person’s vision, you’re still learning about his goals and aspirations, but you’re also providing a space for him to discuss his creativity and vision, which should help him to feel engaged and excited about the interview. Who doesn’t like talking about their dream career? This question also helps give you a feel for if candidates are really passionate about the ski industry–or just taking whatever job they can get.
3. Tell Me Something About You That I Wouldn’t Know From Your Resume/Application
Many interviews start with, “Tell me about yourself.” To which interviewers get a well-rehearsed recap of the highlights of the candidate’s resume. When you go beyond the polished, professional biography, you may discover something quirky or interesting–as well as something relevant to the position. For example, someone who has worked outside jobs, such as landscaping, will be more inclined to understand that the weather can be an issue. Someone who talks about managing her kids’ theater production is demonstrating leadership, creativity, and a desire for work-life balance. Use the question to give candidates a breather from regurgitating their resumes, and use the answer to gauge if the candidate would be a good fit for your company culture.
4. Are There Any Questions You’d Like to Revisit?
Many interviewers conclude with, “Do you have anything else to add?” or some variation of that vague question. In my experience, most applicants use this time to repeat their original elevator speech about their education and experience. However, when you inquire if a candidate would like to go back, you can learn a few valuable personality traits. First, is she able to admit when she’s been less-than-perfect or even wrong? Is he able to admit he’d like clarification or a do-over? These are important employee traits. A person unable to admit mistakes could cost you time and resources.
Bonus: This question goes a long way in making the applicant feel good about the interview. Who hasn’t left an interview thinking about something he or she should have said differently? Most people will be excited that you’re giving them the chance to revisit a question they might’ve bombed earlier.
5. Do You Have Any Questions for Me?
OK, fine, this is a typical interview question. But I recommend that you keep it on your list.
Using these simple questions consistently will give you confidence in your hiring decisions as you compare candidates’ answers. This isn’t a perfect solution to hiring the best for each job, but it is a big step in the right direction, and they are simple enough to remember. Good luck this fall filling those seasonal slots!