Have you ever conducted a job interview and found yourself scouring the internet looking for the right questions to ask your candidates?  Most interviews consist of the same questions, and savvy job seekers have memorized their answers to give you exactly what you want to hear.  These are the ten most popular interview questions, tell me if you’ve heard these before:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why do you want to work here?
  3. Why should I hire you?
  4. What did you like/dislike from your last job?
  5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  6. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  7. How do you deal with pressure/stress?
  8. How do you take direction?
  9. What is the most difficult situation you have faced?
  10. Do you prefer working alone or with others?

So how do you separate the potential stars from the duds?

Hiring Employees for Personality

The answer is, to hell with experience, if you want to hire great employees you need to hire for personality!  And don’t just interview, take the time to learn your candidates’ personality.

When there is an employee vacancy and you need to hire someone, most companies dust off the job description that was created ten years ago and use that to create a recruiting ad.  You need something more dynamic than that to uncover a future winner in the interview process.  Here’s what your job profiles need to tell you:

  • What talents do the ‘stars’ have that others don’t?
  • What must they ‘do’, vs. what must they ‘have’?
  • What talents are needed to be successful, not just what the job entails?

What I recommend is to create a set of adjectives that describe the type of person you are looking for and match the skill-set of the job you’re looking to fill.  Then during the interview process, ask probing questions that will help you discover if your candidate matches those personality traits.  For example, you could list a set of eight adjectives that describe your potential hire:

  1. Team Player
  2. Sense of Humour
  3. Eager
  4. Fast Paced
  5. Confident
  6. Energetic
  7. Personable
  8. Knowledgeable of Current Events

Now during your job interview you can ask questions to uncover these traits.  If a candidate doesn’t match at least five of these eight adjectives, you should move on to the next interview.

Using these job recruiting techniques when hiring employees can help you stand out at your company as someone who is not going to follow the conventional route, someone who thinks outside the box to hire great people.  After all, selecting winners to work at your company can be a defining moment in your own career.

Do you conduct interviews at your job?  What tips do you have to hire great employees?

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2 Comments

  1. rsm on November 8, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Really pleased to see someone proposing a departure from the standard HR text on hiring. I’m in my 50’s and have lost count of which career I’m on now. Having spent a fair amount of time interviewing potential candidates, I couldn’t agree with you more. Ask the standard questions but use some of the allotted time to have an actual conversation with the person across the table and find out who they are.

    I’ve also acquired fair amount of seat time as a candidate and there’s nothing more frustrating for an experienced individual who could do the job blindfolded and knows more about the industry than the recent grad thats conducting the “interview” via a series of set questions straight out of an HR manual.

    Remember you’re looking for someone who can not only do the job but is someone you’ll enjoy spending a significant amount of time with . . . find out who they really are.

    • Echo on November 8, 2010 at 10:45 am

      @rsm
      I couldn’t agree more, not that it’s all about just “getting along” but each employee you hire becomes a part of your work family and there has to be some likeability factor involved in the hiring process.

      I swear if I had a dime for every time I asked the question, “What is your greatest weakness?” and heard, “I work too hard, or I’m a perfectionist”, I would be financially free!

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