How Did They Improve the Workplace Around Them?

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This is a simple question and one that can yield excellent information for you.

The answers you get are important, but the speed of the answer can also be revealing.

If you ask Sue, “In your previous jobs, how did you improve the workplace around you?” and it takes her awhile to answer, I see two possibilities:

1) She hasn’t really done this very often, if at all

or

2) She may have accomplished this so often, she just kind of considered it “routine.”

So, you may need to “groove in” the question some.

You: “Sue, in your previous jobs, how did you improve the workplace around you?”

Sue: “Well, let’s see. Hmm. I imagine I’ve done this before.”

You: “Well, your résumé says you handled collections in your last two jobs. What would be an example of improving the workplace from that position?”

Sue: “Oh, I see. Well, in both companies I was able to streamline the collections process with several insurance companies. And I also figured out a payment plan that patients were willing to use, and it resulted in getting them fully paid 2-3 months sooner than before.”

You: “That’s great, Sue. Any others like that?”

After she gives you what she can, you might say, “That’s great, Sue. Any instances of improving the workplace around you in terms of your fellow employees?”

Give Sue a bit of time to look that over and she may very well have some good data for you there.

Of course, if you’ve grooved the question in and Sue just doesn’t have an answer, then that’s what you’ve got.

The ability and willingness to improve life around one and specifically the workplace around one — this, in my humble opinion, is a great quality to look for.



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If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


If You Had a Time Machine, What Would You Do With It?

Time Machine

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Sounds a bit silly, I know, but a question like this could shed some light on your prospect.

You could frame the question a number of different ways:

“If you had a time machine and could only use it once, would you go to the future or the past? And why?”

“If you had a time machine and could go back in time to change one event, what would that be?”

And here’s one with a bit of an intellectual twist to it: “If you had a time machine and you knew using it would cause unintended effects on others, would you still use it?”

If you’ve been reading our Hiring Tips — and we have over 180 of them — you know I like to provide innovative ways to gain new insights into your prospect.

I’m thinking this is another one of those tips!



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


Do They Know It All?

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Every so often you run into someone who considers there is nothing new to learn about a subject. And that subject may be the very thing you’re hiring for.

It could be how to sell; how to promote for new customers; how to do collections or really any subject in the workplace. It could even be how to properly stock a shelf. This person just believes he knows all there is to know about a particular subject. Or worse, they feel they know all there is to know on just about every subject.

And yes, we do enjoy working with people who are very certain of their job and their craft. But there’s a key difference between the person who is confident and certain and the person who “knows it all.”

That key difference is the willingness to learn something new.

If your candidate is so sure of himself that he conveys there is nothing new to learn, this is not a positive indicator.

So, how would we find this out in an interview? Well, you could conduct this brief Q&A:

“Frank, what subject in the workplace do you feel very certain about?”

Frank gives you a subject (hopefully).

When you ask this next question, be sure to watch your candidate closely when he gives the answer.

“That sounds great, Frank. So tell me, how eager are you to learn something new about (fill in the subject here)?”

If your candidate answers that he’s very eager to learn new things and his answer is given quickly and without any discomfort, that’s a good sign.

If he hems and haws a bit with his answer, that’s not the very best indicator.

If he tells you outright that he knows all that there is to know about the subject, well that’s a revealing answer as well.

I realize this next statement may date me some, but I recall what Popeye said many times in his animated cartoon show, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am. I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.”

If your guy feels he’s got it all and there’s no room for new ideas, a new perspective, a fresh way to go about things, then keep that in mind when making your hiring decision.

And for those who haven’t a clue who Popeye is, here’s a seven second video for your viewing pleasure:

Well, it’s not every day you see a short Popeye video in a Hiring Tip, but I hope the visual was helpful!



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


Have They Ever Volunteered?

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If your applicant has done volunteer work, it can tell us quite a bit about them. So, if it’s not on their résumé, it’s worth checking into.

What can volunteer work reveal about a candidate?

First a fast disclaimer: this is not going to be the case for every one who has volunteered, but for the vast majority of volunteers, I believe it can tell you the following:

  • They have a very human side to them.
  • They are not “all about the money.”
  • Compassion means something to them.
  • They will tend to be more of a team player.
  • They likely get along very well with others. If their “people skills” are weak, they likely consider it important to improve them.

If volunteer work isn’t indicated on the résumé, feel free to ask.

Dig a little and find out:

  • How much volunteering they’ve done?
  • How long were the projects?
  • Did they actively seek volunteer work?
  • What did volunteering do for them?

Again, I realize one can’t generalize about all volunteers, but there are certain human qualities that one can safely attribute to those who contribute in this way.

If you’re down to two candidates that are close to equal in many ways and one has considerable volunteer work in their background, that’d be a very strong factor for me.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


10 More Interview Questions

Hiring Interview

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In a couple of earlier tips, I provided 10 questions you could ask in the interview. It’s been awhile since those two tips, so here are another 10 you could use.

  1. What are you most proud of?
  2. What is the most important thing you learned in school?
  3. What is the most important thing you learned outside of school?
  4. Where do you want to be 10 years from today?
  5. If you discovered the company you work for is doing something illegal, what would you do?
  6. Who are your heroes?
  7. Which do you prefer: to be a leader or to be led by someone giving good, positive direction?
  8. What is the last book you read? (and when?)
  9. What do you do in your spare time?
  10. What would you do if you won the lottery?

I particularly like that last question and I want you to know right here and now that I fully intend to keep writing these hiring tips after I win the big one.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


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