Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

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

Trending in Smartcut

1 How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work 2 Why You Can (And You Should) Quit Your Job Because of Stress 3 How to Find Your Blind Spots in Life and Turn Them Into Strengths 4 How to Be Influential and Gain Respect at Work 5 9 Best Productivity Journal and Planners To Get More Done In Less Time

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

Advertising

3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

Advertising

Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

Advertising

  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

Advertising

If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next