Hiring Smart


Every year, Fortune magazine releases a list of “Top 100 Companies to Work For.” It seems that each of the featured companies employ people who really fit into that specific corporate culture.

As Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, would say, “The right people are on the bus and those people are sitting in the right seats.”

How does this happen? Well, for starters, these companies hire smart.

Of course, it’s important to ask the right questions when interviewing a prospective employee. Resumes don’t tell the whole story, so we need to find out the truth about applicants. Specifically, do they possess the specific characteristics and skill sets necessary to succeed at the job?

It can be deceptively difficult to get a read on some people.

To make matters worse, many interviewers ask unhelpful questions such as, “What is your biggest strength?” The resulting dialog is practically useless.

At my training events, I teach managers and supervisors to ask creative, somewhat unpredictable questions and get the prospective employee to demonstrate the desirable quality during the interview.

Want to improve your hiring practices? Ask these questions when interviewing job applicants.

Want to know if the person can give direction?
Ask him the name of his favorite restaurant and how to get there.

Want to know if the person can take direction?
Ask them to call you the next day at a specific time.

Want to know if the person is prompt?
Hold three job interviews, instead of one. Hold them at odd times, such as 9:37 am.

Want to know if the applicant really is a “people person?”
Give her a tour of your office building or production facility. If she doesn’t say “hi” to anyone and never introduces herself, she’s probably not a real “people person.”

Want to know if the interviewee is a fun person?
Drop a box of Legos in front of him and ask him to make something. Watch his eyes. If he crinkles his face and looks puzzled, he’s no fun. If he smiles and starts to build something, take him at his word.

Too many job interviews are rooted in language and not in deed. Always believe what someone says over what he does. And try to get him to do it during the interview.

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