Dear Aunty B,
I’ve recently advertised for two new roles at my business and I will be interviewing the candidates at the end of this week. The problem is I had a string of recruitment disasters. Do you have any advice for what kind of questions I should be asking these people?
The two people who were last in these roles both left my business within a space of four weeks. And for one of the roles, the person who had that job before the last person was only with me for eight months. The people I have hired all look great on paper but it seems like I have poor judgement when it comes to hiring.
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I want to find people who are competent and fit the culture of my business and I want them to stick around for longer than a few months. Please help.
I’ve always said hiring the right staff is just about one of the hardest things you have to do as a business owner. Get it right and you have a sure-fire way of improving your business. But get it wrong and you are in for a world of pain.
While you haven’t mentioned the questions you have previously asked job candidates in interviews, my guess is that you have relied on stock-standard questions about their previous experience, what they think their strengths and weaknesses are, etc.
The problem with stock-standard interview questions is they get stock-standard responses. And usually these responses don’t give you much insight into WHO the person is and HOW they will work once they get the job.
Thomas Koulopoulos is the founder of Delphi Group and over at Inc, he has some fantastic suggestions for interview questions that will help you find the best people for your business. Koulopoulos has six questions on his list but there are two in particular that stand out for me.
The first is: “Are you driven by the determination to succeed or the fear of failure?”
“There is no right answer to this question,” says Koulopoulos. “What I’m looking for is what motivates this person to work hard. I do not judge ambition; it comes in many forms.”
There’s also this suggestion from Koulopoulos: “How is who you are now consistent or inconsistent with the person you were at 12 years old?”
“To know a person, you need to know his or her journey,” Koulopoulos explains. “This single question may tell you more about the person you’re talking to than just about anything else you could ask. Don’t laugh this one off. Stick with it and dig deep. It can take a bit of time, but it’s worth it.”