Frank De Raffele
Hiring the right person is not easy. Corporations have HR professionals who are trained on various techniques to filter out the people you don’t want. With all the interviews, personality and communication profiles and resume reading, in the end, it becomes and educated guess.
As a small business owner, when you are trying to hire the right person, you usually do it from your gut. After looking at the resumes and interviewing various people you go with who you liked best. Not the greatest method, but it may be successful for you.
In order to help you pick the Top Performer for you, here are 7 questions that will get the interview conversations a little more productive.
What do you like best about our business? How would you change what you don’t like?
Are they problem oriented or solution oriented in their answer? This answer will give you insight into how a candidate will verbalize something they don’t like. Will they talk about the problem and then immediately suggest a solution, or will they tell you that your business is perfect when in reality, it probably isn’t?
Look for people who talk 5 percent about the problem and 95 percent about the solution. By asking how they’d change what they don’t like, you get a chance to hear how they’d go about solving problems. For example, if they say your customer service stinks but can’t suggest even a basic idea to fix it, what chance do they have of fixing problems when they’re working for you? Will they just give up and move on to something else? Probably. The best employees solve problems fast and on their own.
Which book are you currently reading?
Ongoing learning is a must for top performers. If they are not putting in time on their own to make themselves better than you probably don’t have a top performer in front of you. Top Performers are confident, but they are also humble enough to know they always have to learn more. Passionate people tend to read books or listen to audio books to improve their skills. Whether the books are specific to a skill such as sales and marketing or they’re reading a book focused on self-development doesn’t matter, they are all good signs. If they’re reading a fiction book and haven’t read an educational book for a while, that’s a red flag to me.
Tell me about a problem you were tasked with solving in your current job. How did you fix it?
If they struggle for this answer it may mean they have never really had a significant problem, at work, they had to resolve. You want to know if that is because they don’t view anything as a “big problem” or if they have avoided being in that situation. A great follow up to this would be to give them an example of a problem and see how they would solve it.
What’s the one thing you’ve accomplished in your career that you’re most proud of?
Can they pick one thing? Do they really have multiple things? Their answer will allow you to understand them better as a candidate. If you are looking for top performers, do they give you an answer that shows they have already been a top performer or just a good employee? If, for example, they worked at their previous company for 12 years and their biggest accomplishment was beating their sales target in a single quarter, they may not be the superstar you are looking to hire. On the other hand, if they were promoted five times in their previous role during a two-year period, then you may have a Top Performer on your hands.
Have you played any team sports before?
Good communication skills, winning, helping the team perform better, thinking beyond yourself, believing in accomplishment through team versus individual…..these are all the traits a team athlete will have. People who play team sports such as basketball, soccer and rowing, are driven and focused on achieving goals. They will also tend to be physically fit, which helps keep their mind in peak condition. Generally, they will also be great communicators, cope well under pressure and perform well during team events.
What do you do for fun?
Balance is an important part of success. Knowing what drives them outside of work will tell you a lot about them and who they are as a person.
As an example, if someone hits the gym three days a week, volunteers on Saturdays and is learning how to play the piano “just for fun,” then it’s fair to say they value achievement, goal setting and are continually looking to improve themselves. This will translate into their job.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?
You are looking for insight into this person’s focus and drive. Have they thought that far ahead? Do they have a vision for themselves? Before you ask this question you need to know what type of answer you are looking for, in relation to the position you are hiring. Does this person seem too aggressive, unrealistic or hungry and driven?