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Most entrepreneurs will agree that the most valuable asset for any business is its people. In most industries, successfully growing your business without hiring the right people is extremely difficult, if not impossible. The best leaders know that an organization is only as good as the people who work there. Big tech companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft know this – that’s why they spend millions of dollars every year just on recruiting.
Hiring people is easy. Hiring the right people is one of the toughest tasks facing business leaders. In my years of experience building and building businesses across multiple industries, I’ve learned that digging deep into interviews by asking probing and thought-provoking questions is the first step to hiring the right people. To help you find the best people for your business, I’m going to share three of the most powerful interview questions I’ve used when building my teams.
Related: 5 Unconventional Interview Questions That Get Real Answers From Candidates
1. What research did you do before applying to us? What do you know about this position and our company?
At first glance, this question may look like a softball. But asking for it serves to weed out unmotivated or unqualified applicants. Taking the opportunity to learn all they can about their potential employer and role presentations gives me insight into a candidate’s ability to take initiative. A dynamic leader understands that team members will have gaps in their knowledge. They also know that candidates who demonstrate research abilities will fill those gaps when the need arises.
Whether you’re hiring a programmer, an accountant, or a marketing professional, the ability and willingness to do accurate research cannot be overstated. If a potential employee can’t take a short amount of time to research our company and the position they’re applying for, they’re probably not someone I want on my team.
2. What would be your personal goals in this position and what do you expect of me as a potential employer to achieve them?
It’s important to know why someone applied to your job posting beyond the obvious reason of needing work. As entrepreneurs, we must be aware of the fact that not everyone has the same motivation as us. There are many extremely talented people whose only aspiration is to find a comfortable role that allows them to earn a living using their professional skills. Not everyone is destined to run a business, or even be a manager. And there is nothing wrong with that. The last thing you want to do is push a talented person away because they feel pressured to take on more responsibility than they want.
Interviews are a two-way street. An important part of assessing a candidate’s fit within your company is to self-assess your ability to fit into their ideal work environment. Talking with a candidate about the individual goals they have for a position will help you better understand how their personal aspirations can translate into success for your organization. Effective leadership requires empowering your team members to achieve their professional goals under your direction.
Related: Ask These 3 Interview Questions to Make a Great Hire Every Time
3. In your opinion, what should I, as someone about to hire you, be most concerned about?
We’ve all heard the classic interview question: “Tell me about your biggest weakness.” This is an easy way to make a candidate squirm, but the answers to this question are usually of no use to the hiring manager. No candidate who wants the job is going to give a thoughtful answer to that question.
To get a more useful answer here, I like to ask candidates what should be on my mind as someone who is about to hire them. In my experience, this question forces the interviewee to think about situations where they have failed in the past, despite their best efforts. The question also forces candidates to imagine that they are already working in the role and to visualize a situation where they might let me down. Getting an honest and thoughtful answer here can provide the interviewer with valuable insight into a candidate’s ability to self-assess and their potential for personal development.
Related: Leaders: Here’s the #1 Thing You Shouldn’t Do When Interviewing Job Candidates
I’m sure you already have a handful of well-seasoned questions that you use in every interview. But ask yourself, “Are these questions really giving me the information I need to hire the best people?” Or do I ask them out of habit? “If you answered anything other than yes, I encourage you to try out my questions and see if you like the results.