Four Interviewing Questions That Weed Out Trouble

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Finding the dream candidate is your number one goal when you are interviewing people, but in some ways that means eliminating your less-than-ideal candidate. Most people you eliminate will be fine for other companies and positions- they just don't fit in your company or have all the right qualifications for the particular position you are looking to fill. 

There will be a few that you will interview, though, that won't work out anywhere. They hold grudges, bother co-workers, and make a manager's life miserable. There are a few questions that you can ask to make sure you avoid hiring people who will be more headache than help.

Question 1: "What Could Your Last Boss Have Done To Keep You?"

This tells you a lot about what an applicant expects and needs. Most people will give reasonable suggestions. They might say that they needed a little more flexibility in their work schedule, or a little more autonomy. The people to avoid are the ones with a long list of unreasonable expectations. This is someone who will give management trouble when they get exactly what everyone else in his or her position gets.

Question 2: "Describe The Best And Worst Boss That You Have Had."

Admittedly, a bad boss tends to stick out in the mind, but an applicant who goes into great detail about all the bad bosses they have worked for reveals that they don't get along with authority figures very well. It also indicates a tendency to focus on negative interactions. Most people have worked for at least a few people they liked and can think of some of their good points. 

Question 3: "How Do You Solve Problems At Work?"

Most people would say that they solve work problems by talking them over with the people involved. If the applicant thinks they are helpless to solve anything or say that they confront whoever they are having a problem with, the applicant just doesn't work well with others. He or she gives up or explodes, and their co-workers and productivity suffer from it.

A couple related questions are about how an applicant made suggestions for improving things at work. If he or she complains that the bosses never listened, it may indicate that the applicant makes suggestions by calling people stupid and demanding that everyone do what they want immediately.

Question 4: "Describe a Mistake You Have Made And How It Happened."

Yes, people want to look good during an interview, so they want to spin any past mistakes. However, they will generally own up to making some and admit a bit of responsibility for them. "I wish I had gotten my CPR certificate, but I slept through the class. I'll take it again when I am better rested," is a kind of example. Someone who answers, "I never got that CPR certificate because the teacher was boring, and I knew everything anyway," is not someone who should work in your company. They won't take direction, and every time something goes wrong, they will hunt for someone to blame.

Avoiding people you will definitely have to fire later is an important reason for interviewing, and it is also a good reason to work with a staffing agency that works with you throughout the hiring process. We can help you, not only get the best employees for the job, but avoid the worst. When you want help in hiring top-quality employees, contact us.

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