When hiring talent, you need to ask questions in a variety of areas to gain the right feel for a candidate. While assessing skills is critical to choosing a candidate, in some cases it may be more important to find a hire who fits well within your team, versus one who has the exact skill set as the person who held the position before them. After all, if the person you choose doesn’t fit in well, you may have to start over.
The key to success is hiring someone who works well with others — specifically the employees you already have working for you. Think of your current team, and seek a candidate whose skills can fill existing gaps.
Ask these questions to learn more about how the candidate operates in a team:
- “How do you motivate those around you?”
This question will help you understand whether the candidate will rally around his or her teammates when there’s a victory to celebrate. It will show you whether the candidate will have the backs of your other employees in good or bad situations. One of the most valuable assets a candidate can have is the ability to work with a team.
- “How do you determine which issues to bring to your boss, which to delegate and which to resolve yourself?”
You want to know the candidate can work as part of a team and independently, ideally without a lot of direction from you. Once the potential employee learns the ropes, he or she should be able to handle most of the issues that come their way, or delegate to the right people, without bringing every issue to you. For example, if you hire a job site supervisor, you want to be confident they can potentially run the site without you.
This is the part where you want to learn about the skills, education and specific talents a person brings to the table. Be sure to ask job-specific questions about the candidate’s background as it relates to the position you have available.
Here are a few examples of very specific skill-related questions:
- If you’re looking for a welder, for example, you’d want to be sure the candidate has welding experience. Here, you may also want to ask questions about safety training or programs the candidate may have been a part of at his or her past job.
This will give you an idea of where the candidate stands on following procedures as well as how experienced a welder the candidate might be.
- “Describe your proficiency with technology. Which programs are you familiar with? What types of new technology or software might you introduce to make your work more efficient?”
It's a win for both of you if the candidate happens to have experience with a software program your company uses.
Skill-related questions are important. After all, if you’re interviewing someone who can’t handle the basic duties of the open position, what’s the point? But beyond skills, think about the candidate’s personality traits and work ethic. Remember, asking open-ended questions will help you get the candidate talking — which makes it easier to obtain the information you’re seeking.
It’s also important to think about your company’s culture. How would you describe it? Is it about family, teamwork or dedication to excellence? Make sure you share the values you hold and the values you seek, then have a discussion with the candidate about whether they feel they’re a good fit, too.
Looking for more expert insight on how to choose the best candidate for the job? Check out our free resource, The Employer’s Handbook for Avoiding Hiring Mistakes.