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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

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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 October 17, 2018

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

1. Meditate

We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

2. Get plenty of sleep

If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

How much sleep should you be getting?

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Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

Yes, there are.

Try these three things:

  • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
  • Don’t eat too late
  • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

3. Challenge your brain

When was the last time you challenged your brain?

I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

  • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
  • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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4. Take more breaks

When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

However, I was wrong.

Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

Let me explain.

Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

What’s the answer?

Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

5. Learn a new skill

I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

Let me give you an example of this:

Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

6. Start working out

If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

“But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

Not a problem.

A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

Interested in getting started?

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Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

  • Join a gym
  • Join a sports team
  • Buy a bike
  • Take up hiking
  • Dance to your favorite music

7. Eat healthier foods

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

This applies to your brain too.

The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

  • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
  • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
  • Nuts – improves memory
  • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
  • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

Final thoughts

I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

Reference

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