Getting Off to a Good Start

new hires

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I was at Monster’s web site and saw a few questions you could ask applicants on the subject of “getting started.”

What do you see yourself accomplishing in the first 30 days here?

How would you go about quickly establishing your credibility with our team?

If hired, describe your strategy for the first 90 days.

How long would it take for you to make a significant contribution here?

For your “serious” positions, I like these questions. They are asking your applicant to stretch a bit and look into their possible future with your company.

Some applicants have quite a bit visualized as a potential member of your team and they will likely give you solid answers to all of the above.

What if you’re hiring a stock clerk or a waitress, would you still want to ask these questions?

My answer is a simple: “Absolutely!”

Asking every applicant how they believe they can bring value to your company only grants dignity to them, to the available position and to your company.

So there you go. Find out what your bright-eyed prospects would do to get out of the starting gate and you’ll likely gain some welcome insights.



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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.


What Does The Word Accountable Mean To Them?

Who Is Accountable?

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Accountable. Now that indeed is an interesting word.

I found two good definitions:

1) responsible for the effects of your actions and willing to explain them

2) responsible to someone or for some action; answerable

It almost seems the two words, responsible and accountable, are interchangeable. But not quite.

The main difference between responsibility and accountability is that responsibility can be shared while accountability cannot. Being accountable not only means being responsible for something but also ultimately being answerable for your actions.

So let’s ask your applicant what the word means.

“Frank, what is your definition of the word accountable?”

Now I’m going to give you a heavy dose of my opinion here. If Frank can easily communicate a fairly complete definition, this is a good sign that he demonstrates the quality.

If Frank fumbles around for an answer, then this could be a weak area for him.

The key here is that Frank can easily talk to you about accountability. It’s not foreign to him. He has familiarity with it.

So, instead of asking directly about being accountable, ask them to define the word. This may give you a better clue as to just how accountable they are.



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.


How Did They Improve the Workplace Around Them?

Staff Helping Out

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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.



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.


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.


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