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Published on September 25, 2018

Best 10 Interview Questions for Managers to Hire Exceptional Employee

Best 10 Interview Questions for Managers to Hire Exceptional Employee

Hiring is one of the biggest concerns of executives to management level positions. As it should be, hiring people to work for your company can be rewarding or risky.

Poor choices in hiring can take a drastic toll on the success of the business. Not to mention that who you hire has a direct reflection on you as a manager. Whereas great hiring choices can improve the overall cohesiveness of the work environment and boost production.

Establishing an excellent recruiting process starts with getting the right talent through the doors. Today, it’s considered more of an art than science, especially for startups and regardless of the company structure or rubrics.

There is added emphasis on the importance of asking the right questions during interviews. You only have a short amount of time with each potential candidate so you need to maximize your time accordingly. Just how do you do that?

10 best interview questions for managers to hire great employees

There are hundreds of interviews questions but few are recommended by a senior leader in their respected fields.

1. What is something about yourself that others might find surprising?

What better way to get the cognitive juices flowing and set the pace for an interview than to allow the interviewee a chance to think outside of the box?

Rather than opening with an unguided interview question or statement such as, “Tell me a little about yourself” you keep the conversation focused and demand sincerity early on. It’s important to ask unique questions to obtain unique answers.

2. Why did you choose this industry and career?

Instead of asking questions that warrant a one or two sentence response such as Why are you here? Why are you interested in our company? Why are you interested in this job? Where exactly do you see yourself in 5 years? And 10 years? What is your dream job?

This question is designed to allow the interviewee to start to open up and express their professional and personal interests and goals.

As a manager, it’s important to learn more about your prospect’s career goals and how the position fits into their plan. You also want to make sure they are sincerely interested in the job and will be motivated to perform if chosen.

At the same time, this question is the bridge to building a more personal relationship with your candidate early into the hiring process. Based on your criteria, do you need to hire someone who is passionate about their career or someone who just showed up to collect a paycheck and benefits?

You can even learn about their 5 and 10 year-plan from this question and see what positions they hope to reach over the coming years.

3. What do you know about our company, what interests you the most and why do you want to work here?

We should believe that with the convenient access to information online today that most candidates would do their homework, but that’s not always the case. Unfortunately, some job applicants may not even know they type of business the company they applied for engages in.

Ask this interview question and you’ll find out quickly who is sincerely interested in working for you — and who isn’t.

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Skill is something that can be taught but enthusiasm cannot. When a potential employee is genuinely excited about an opportunity, this usually translates into excellent work and greater longevity with your company.

Ask your interviewee about what initially attracted them to the position? What sparked their attention? What makes them most excited about the prospect of working for your company?

Doing so will not only provide yet another confirmation of their grasp of the duties of the role but also gives you a chance to figure out what aspects of the job description interest them the most.

4. From everything you’ve learned about this role, myself and our company, tell me how you feel you’d make a contribution.

This statement lets you see how much research your potential employee has done before arriving to the interview. While most qualified candidates typically will conduct research on the company and the position prior to the interview, a great candidate will take that extra step to be better prepared.

That same mindset will carry over into their working habits. Would you rather have an over-prepared or under-prepared new hire?

5. What would you have liked to do more of in your last position? What held you back?

A great way for a candidate to express their previous job experience and challenges without asking, “What are some challenges?” You control the direction and can easily bypass any challenges unrelated to the matter.

Were they faced with limited responsibilities, not enough job training, or poor leadership? Asking what held that potential employee back from something they wanted more of out of their last position will offer insight on whether they will feel the same way about their job working for your company in the future.

6. Only choosing one or the other, do you work hard or smart?

Similar but very different from the notorious question asked by Burger King’s 36-year-old CEO Daniel Schwartz.[1]

Questions that aren’t posted on job application websites are more likely to warrant an unrehearsed response. By forcing the candidate to think on the spot and choose whether they want to appear as the right fit for the job is a great way to test their critical thinking and constructive criticism capabilities.

In Schwartz’ mind, there is a right and wrong answer for this question. He simply prefers people who work hard.

A tough labor demanding job may warrant the hard-working response whereas a position that demands more organization, scheduling, and many other tasks may require the smart worker response. A smart worker might be able to handle prolonged periods of stress while someone who works too hard for extensive amounts of time could become overwhelmed and crash.

7. How would you further describe your working style and how you are able to handle tight deadlines?

This builds from the last question, while you don’t want to build a team of people who are completely homogenous, it’s important to make sure that new additions are flexible and can work in a way that doesn’t wrench a hole in the way things currently operate.

For that reason, get to know each candidate’s working style. Do they like to collaborate with other members of the team or do they prefer to work independently? Do they require a lot of direction or can they take initiative, using good judgement and complete the task without supervision?

The insight gained from this interview question alone is invaluable for determining the right match for the job and debatably more importantly, for the entire team.

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Another aspect that should be included with this question is the potential employee working style under time constraints, especially for positions that constantly demand a deadline.

Do you need someone who can work well under pressure? More importantly, do you need someone who can manage others or someone who can take orders well while dealing with limited time-frames for projects?

Ask your candidates this question and you will gain their opinion on how well they are able to handle stress as well as the insight on whether they can keep up with the pace at your organization.

Other follow-ups to this question could include asking if:

  • They’ve ever missed a deadline?
  • How they handled missing a deadline?
  • If it’s better to be good and on-time or perfect and late?

8. How do you develop yourself outside of the work environment? And what are some of your hobbies?

Whether it’s personal, professional or leadership development, it comes in all shapes and sizes and can easily be identified in someone’s hobbies, sense of purpose, or their hunger to explore.

The question isn’t the most conventional interview question but it’s always important to remember that you’re hiring a person. Do you want someone who can connect well with you and your team or a robot who is incapable of sharing interests, forming bonds and building relationships?

It is a commonly accepted fact by the business decision-makers that the skill of employees account for 85% of a company’s assets. Therefore, organizations dedicate much of their resources on training and improving the workplace. Employee efficiency and talent determines the pace and growth of the organizations.

You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable asking a question like this, especially if this question is asked later in the interview after you have had the opportunity to learn more about the prospect.

Understanding their personal investment into themselves will allow you to connect on a more personal level while also getting a bigger picture of what makes them “tick.”

9. Why should we hire you?

Many experts agree this is among the best interview questions because you’re asking the candidate to define what sets them apart from everyone else you have interviewed in a competition-intense job market.

If you are ever faced with a pile of resumes or interviewees telling similar stories about themselves this question helps you determine the best candidate.

A study conducted by Altimeter and LinkedIn showed that socially engaged companies are more likely to find that:[2]

Employees are more engaged, more likely to stay and refer great talent, are more competitive and optimistic, and more likely to increase business and sales opportunities, drive greater lead generation, cultivate innovation, and yield top talent.

Another great way to consider the importance of this question is that an interviewee who does well explaining their background, experience, credentials, and hobbies will do the same thing for your company once hired.

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10. Do you have any questions for me?

An excellent question to end the interview with while gaining additional insight on the quality of the potential employee. Last impressions are just as important as first impressions, especially for extensive hiring processes and multiple interviews.

If the candidate was paying attention during the interview, they won’t find this to be a tough question to answer so there’s no logical explanation for a blank stare response.

Substantial answers to this question signal a higher level of preparation and initiative.

Furthermore, those candidates that took notes during the interview and jotted down some questions to ask indicates their level of interest in the company beyond an individual role and shows their interest to the overall relationship within and among the organization.

View interview questions from multiple angles

Research suggests that most hiring decisions are made within 15 seconds.[3] Whether that is enough time to warrant a good decision is debatable by many experts but unless they are poorly dresses or have bad hygiene it is advised to avoid passing any judgements until the interview is at least 50% complete.

The best interview questions will tell you a story about the person behind the resume. These questions are designed to reveal their habits, lifestyle, personality, knowledge, strengths, weaknesses, skills and abilities.

Interview questions should also benefit the job seeker and provide them with a chance to speak on details that don’t fit on one or two sheets of paper.

Today’s savvy interviewer will always include interview questions tailored specifically to the company and position. This list of the 10 best questions works across various industries and job descriptions.

Other important interview questions to consider asking interviewees

In my experience, many hiring processes and interviews don’t ask questions that require enough thought or sincere answers. By asking the right questions during the interview you set the pace and demand more than the ordinary well-rehearsed answer.

Among the 10 best questions that help managers hire great employees are questions that are more directly associated with the specific needs to certain companies or job descriptions.

You might want to include questions such as:

Why are they leaving their current job? What is the candidate’s ideal work environment? Does the candidate work best alone or on a team?

Then, of course, there are other questions that are more suitable for certain instances, such as:

  • Will your candidate need to relocate if they are chosen for the position?
  • Are they open to traveling if required?
  • Can they work long hours, overtime, holidays and weekends?

These questions can also build from the 10 questions and can also be formatted in such as way that appears organic as opposed to rehearsed.

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The companies with the highest success employ the right talent quite often. In hiring the right talent, successful employers like to pinpoint specific questions that make it clear whether or not the candidate would be an ideal fit.

The best interview questions should make even the hiring manager think.

Interview questions should be challenging and should be harder for interviewees to prepare for. These questions are designed to reveal the most the most about your candidate and in the shortest amount of time.

I have often asked managers from different walks of life about their “go to” interview questions and why they are so important. Of the hundred or so questions I’ve found a common theme.

Here’s what I picked up:

  • Most avoid easy-to-practice questions.
  • Most avoid asking the same questions that were asked during the job application.
  • Most ask questions that are open for two-way input and response so that interviews are conversations rather than interrogations. This is neat because it allows you more opportunity to excite the candidate about the job they are applying for.

While the job seeker is on the nerve-wracking end of the table, job interviews can inspire some level of anxiety in managers as well. Asking the right questions with allow you to really hone in on the best candidate for the opening.

Common interview questions to avoid asking qualified candidates

One last thing to keep in mind. In the same manner, it’s important to ask the right questions, avoid interrogating candidates and instead you should get them excited about the job! This carries the same importance as to why you should avoid common interview questions that some candidates might even repulse.

For example:

  • Describe yourself.
  • What are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
  • Why do you want to leave your current company?
  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake.
  • Discuss your resume.
  • Discuss your educational background.
  • Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.
  • Why are you looking for a new job?
  • What are your salary requirements?
  • Who are our competitors?
  • What was your biggest failure? Regret?
  • What motivates you?
  • What is your availability?
  • Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.
  • How do you handle pressure?
  • What is the name of our CEO?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What makes you uncomfortable?
  • What questions have I not asked you?

These common questions should be reworded. If not avoided, they should be asked in the context of a conversation instead of the focus of the interview. The interviewer can practice and rehearse while not seeming as if that were the case.

It’s not so much that they are bad questions, the same insight can be gained using our 10 questions or again, by asking them in addition to and in the context of the 10 questions.

While there are plenty of tips for interviewers you’ll want to keep these tips in your repertoire to get the most information out of that short conversation.

Remember these 10 interview questions to ask, and you’re much more likely to hire the best people for the job.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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D'Vaughn Bell

Executive consultant, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur

Transform Your Attitude for Success with These 16 Killer Techniques Best 10 Interview Questions for Managers to Hire Exceptional Employee

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

Being a leader of a company or organization is certainly a difficult and often frustrating position – but it can also be tremendously rewarding.

Whether you’re just starting out as a leader, or have been leading for a while, you’ll be sure to benefit from knowing the essential traits that all great leaders possess.

Effective and successful leaders transcend the title of ‘manager’ or ‘boss’. They’ve found a way to achieve the perfect combination of charisma, enthusiasm and self-assurance (with a healthy dose of luck and timing probably added to the mix).

It may seem like some people are gifted with leadership skills, but the truth is most leadership traits can be learned, adopted, and strengthened with time and practice.

As we delve into the list of effective leadership traits, you will learn the behaviors and attitudes of a good leader.

1. Vision and Mission

Having a clear picture of what needs to be achieved is a crucial quality of good leadership.

This vision is often communicated in a mission statement, such as this one from Starbucks:

    How to develop vision? Spend time pinpointing what you need to achieve, and then plan the steps to get there. Here’s a complete guide on creating your own vision.

    2. Self-Motivated

    It’s no coincidence that successful leaders have an abundance of self-motivation.

    Without a decent level of self-motivation, you’ll struggle to become a strong and respected leader. However, if you don’t have a lot of self-motivation right now, don’t despair.

    One of the secrets is to have definite goals to keep you motivated at all times. Some people also choose to reward themselves every time they achieve a goal, and this is certainly a good way to keep yourself enthused and motivated. Learn how to set an ambitious yet achievable goal here.

    3. Optimism and Positivity

    Positive energy is contagious. Great leaders are overflowing with this type of energy.

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    Not only does a positive mindset make leaders easy to work with, but it also gives them a constant source of inspiration and ideas.

    Tap into this energy by aligning yourself with positive people and positive goals. Find out more about the habits of positive people here.

    4. Emotional Stability

    In leadership positions, frustration and stress are daily occurrences. This is why leaders need to have strong and stable emotions. They can’t allow themselves to be easily knocked off track.

    If you’re prone to losing your emotional stability when stressed or frustrated, try some of these techniques: breath deeply and slowly for 30 seconds, go for a walk, drink some water (instead of tea or coffee), turn your focus onto something you can resolve. Here’re some effective ways to control your emotions.

    5. Self-Confidence

    Watch a presentation by any CEO and you’ll see that even if they’re not natural presenters – they make up for this by having powerful self-confidence.

    It’s not just CEOs who have self-confidence, any successful leader will have this trait in abundance. One reason for this, is that only a confident person can persuade others and gain their respect.

    Worried that you have low self-confidence? Try faking it. Psychologists often recommend that if you ‘act’ at being confident, you’ll start to look, sound and feel like you ARE confident. And in time… you will be.

    If you look for more ways to boost your self-confidence, this confidence coach has got you some nice advice:

    How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

    6. Decisiveness

    Leaders are frequently called upon to make decisions (some leaders may have to make dozens of decisions every day). In fact, you could say that making decisions is one of the key things a leader must do.

    Spend some time observing highly-successful leaders and you’ll see that they are quick to make decisions. They also enjoy making decisions, rather than stressing out like many non-leaders do when they’re asked to decide on something.

    Put yourself in the leadership bracket by developing your decision-making skills. Start with small decisions – and then work your way up to bigger and more difficult decisions. Once other people notice your decision-making prowess, they’ll automatically see you as leadership material.

    I know it’s really quite difficult to make the right decisions sometimes, but don’t worry, here’s a guide for you:

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    How To Make Good Decisions All The Time

    7. Passion and Enthusiasm

    Expressive. Active. Energetic. These are words best describe a passionate leader.

    Great leaders are lively, driven and are possessed with zeal and purpose. It’s this passion that helps them achieve big results. If you want to emulate their success, then you need to develop passion and enthusiasm for the work at hand, and the end goals.

    Take a look at this Passion Pyramid to find out how importance a leader’s passion is to the team:

      One way to do this is to find what motivates you, and keep your focus firmly on that. For example, i f you’re motivated by helping others, then make sure your role and company are both suited to realizing this. If you’re motivated by money, then put your focus on achieving bonuses and pay rises.

      Take a look at Leo Babauta’s guide on how to find your passion.

      8. Accountability and Responsibility

      Exceptional leaders know that at all times they’ll need to take responsibility for tasks and their results. This includes things likes individual and team performance, as well as being accountable for when things go wrong.

      When negative things occur (and you can guarantee they will from time-to-time), a great leader will immediately step in and take responsibility. Initially, they’ll try to resolve the problem in as quick and smooth a way as possible. But if this is not feasible, they’ll be sure to say that the buck stops with them – and they take full responsibility for what has happened.

      To develop your leadership skills, you must never shy away from responsibility or accountability. If you prefer to sweep mistakes under the carpet, then you’re demonstrating non-leadership traits. Try owning up to issues and finding solutions to them. By doing this, you’ll immediately gain people’s respect.

      Find out some tips on how to be a more responsible person here.

      9. Focus

      Distractions are everywhere. And it takes major focus to stay committed to tasks and goals. The best leaders understand this, and therefore, they’re always looking at ways to boost their team’s focus.

      One way leaders do this, is to keep their team intensely focused on the bigger picture. This might entail allocating specific time for tasks and eliminating any non-essential work.

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      If you’re easily knocked off track, you’ll need to spend some time boosting your focus. Try planning your day, week, month and year to help ensure that you don’t fall behind with achieving your goals. Check out the 7 strategies of staying super focus recommended by a productivity coach.

      10. Ever-Learning

      Leaders know that to be successful they need to continually update their skills and knowledge. They deliberately learn all they can about their profession and industry, so they’ll able to make confident and assured decisions.

      Why is ever learning so important? I’ll leave it to you to find out the reason here:

      If I Am Living a Good Life, Why Should I Bother Learning New Stuff?

      Imagine a CEO of a solar power company. His company may have amazing solar panels, but when it comes to discussing business with potential buyers, if the CEO or his sales team show a lack of understanding about the solar industry and future trends, etc., they’ll be unlikely to win any business.

      It’s exactly the same for you. If you’re a team leader at an electronics store, you should make sure you fully understand all the products that you offer. But go beyond just that, and read about upcoming products and trends that might change what customers are interesting in buying in the future.

      11. Empathy

      The best leaders understand the feeling of their team members, customers and associates. They know when to praise, and when to discuss problems (usually in private).

      Without empathy, leaders will be seen as cold, harsh and lacking understanding. They’re also likely to be regarded as untrustworthy.

      One way to ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ is to have regular informal discussions with your colleagues. When you do this, you’ll quickly learn their fears and desires. And when you understand why they have these – you’ll be in a position to express empathy. You can also learn to be more sensitive to others’ needs by taking up these communication skills.

      12. Persuasive and Influential

      Communications are at the heart of all transactions. Whether it’s pitching for a sale or resolving a customer complaint, how you communicate will determine the outcome.

      Charismatic leaders such as Richard Branson (Virgin) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are confident and persuasive communicators. They know how to win over audiences and leave a lasting impressing in people’s minds.

      There’re some common barriers that you’ll have to overcome in order to communicate effectively:

      How to learn effective communication? You could join the world-renowned U.S. nonprofit Toastmasters International. They’ve been training people in the art of public speaking since 1924, and members have included Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, and Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy.

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      If you don’t have time to join a club, then practice your communications skills at home. You can do this in front of a mirror, or even better, video yourself presenting, and then ask some friends and family members for feedback. You’ll be amazed at what they pick up on.

      13. Team Building

      If you put a bunch of random people together, you may have a loose definition of a team. In reality, a real team has purpose, drive – and a leader lighting the way.

      If you’ve worked in different teams and with different managers, you’ll no doubt have come to this conclusion:

      Managers who treat their team members like children are unpopular with the team. Conversely, managers who treat their team members like adults, are respected and well-liked by the team.

      The days of disciplinarian managers are passed. Nowadays, successful team leaders know how to inspire and motivate their team, while keeping a harmonious atmosphere between all team members.

      14. Fostering Creativity

      Solutions to problems are rarely black and white. Often it takes a leader who can ‘think outside the box’ to come up with answers. In other words, a leader must be creative, and also help to foster creativity and innovation throughout their team.

      Creativity is not only associated with pursuits such as arts, literature and music, running a team can be just as creative. There will be times every day when you need to come up with ideas and give guidelines for your team to come up with theirs to solve problems.

      The Bottom Line

      Leadership is a journey of continuous learning. It is an amazing experience that will take you on roads you’ve never traveled before.

      Begin now to build your skills and experience, pick out the traits that you currently lack – and then work on developing those.

      It will take tons of practice and time before becoming an effective leader but eventually you will join the ranks of great leaders.

      More About Leadership

      Featured photo credit: unsplash via unsplash.com

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