How Long Do You Plan On Sticking Around?

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That’s an interesting question to ask an applicant and a simple wording would be:

“Sarah, if we hired you, how long do you plan on sticking around?”

Sarah’s answer should deliver an insight into her potential longevity with you.

If her answer doesn’t give you a good sense of commitment, that’s worth knowing ahead of time.

But that also begs the question, being asked more and more these days:

How long should a new employee commit to the company?

One could answer that question philosophically, or one could simply find out directly from the applicant.

And the interesting flip side to the question “how long do you plan on sticking around” is:

“Sarah, under what circumstances would you leave?”

Again, a fairly direct question.

If Sarah’s answer touches on things that were done “to her” at her previous jobs, that’s not the height of responsibility.

But she may also mention not feeling “sufficiently challenged” or she may be candid and project another job offer that she couldn’t turn down.

When you ask these two questions:

How long do you plan on sticking around?

and

Under what circumstances would you leave?

You could cut through some of the potentially canned (or prepared) responses and gain some good insights into your applicant.



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.


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.



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.


Let’s See What You Can Do!

Hiring Show and Tell
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This tip is similar to an earlier one, but I wanted to give it a different spin here.

Let’s give your applicant a very specific assignment and have him carry it out as part of the hiring interview.

A few examples:

Have a customer service candidate review how customers are handled from pre-sale all the way through to fulfillment and follow-up and have the candidate write up how this could be improved.

If someone is applying for the collections position, do a bit of role playing. Have the candidate go down the list and attempt to collect the amounts from you.

Sales is another great position for role playing. Describe a few different selling scenarios and have the candidate take you from start to finish of the sales process.

For some of these, you could even include a time element, say 30 or 60 minutes.

A smiling candidate with a well-rounded résumé is a good start. A candidate who performs right in front of you will take you considerably closer to hiring the right person.



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.


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?

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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.


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