We’re Hiring! Ask These Questions to Find the Right Person

By Paul Bieber

Hiring is as easy as asking the right questions. Sure. Right now you are screaming at me that there is no one to hire and you’ll take any warm body that walks in the door. Well, don’t do it. All that warm body will do is drag the company down and you with it. Each employee affects the whole company. If you hire one good person this will increase your company morale, productivity and margins. And if this one good person likes your company, they can, and most often do, recommend a friend. Slowly, you are in an upward spiral, which will help you in the long term.

Get to Know Your Candidate

Sounds simple. It is not. It all comes down to the first interview and the questions you ask your candidate. Here are some I’ve used for years that will help you.

• Why do you want to leave your present job?
• How would you rate your performance in your last job on a one-to-ten scale?
• What are your long-term goals for working at our company or any other?
• Tell me about a person, or people, you had a hard time working with and why?
• Tell me about a person you admire in your company? How about a person you admire who’s not in your work-relations?
• What upsets or makes you angry at your current job? How did you handle these times?

These questions should help you understand their last work environment. The next set will tell you about the applicant’s communications to the rest of the company.

Communicating Tactics

• How often do you like to contact your supervisor?
• What is your description of “the perfect boss?”
• Would you rather work alone or as part of a team?
• When communicating with others, do you prefer electronics or speaking with the person directly?

Organization and Motivation

Another set of questions will help you understand an applicant’s organizational skills.

• How do you schedule your daily and/or weekly workload?
• What time of day is your best at work and your poorest, and why?
• What hours do you want to work?
• Are you available to work overtime?
Any restrictions on how many hours you can work?
• What did you consider to be a waste of time in your last job? How did you change this?

Lastly, let’s learn about the most important part of an employee, their motivation to work.

• What motivates you to do the best job possible at work? And at home?
• If you are having a slow day, what did you do to keep busy? Did you ask for more work? Did you find things to do on your own?
• What was the most satisfying thing you did at work? How about in your non-work life?
• Would you feel you were underemployed at my company considering duties, wages and plans for the future?
• What tactics should I or your supervisor use to help you get the best out of yourself?
• What do you want to learn to help yourself grow?

If you are hiring for a managerial position you might want to add these extra questions.

• Tell me about the worst manager—and the best—you ever had? Did you learn anything from each one?
• Everyone has tough decisions to make. Describe for me an unpopular decision you were involved with and what you did with it.
• How did you orient new employees? How would you like to be oriented here?
• How did you handle the inevitable conflict between a couple of your employees?
• Did you motivate an unproductive employee and if you couldn’t what was your next step?

Lots of questions here, but where are the answers? There are no exact answers. Each glass company owner or manager will have their own style of running the business. These questions will help you see if a candidate is a good fit. Don’t forget, every strong candidate you hire will bring you another strong applicant within six months. When a person brags how great their job is, their friends will want to apply. Good luck.

Paul Bieber has more than 40 years’ experience in the glass industry, with C.R. Laurence and as executive vice president of Floral Glass in New York. He is now the principal of Bieber Consulting Group LLC and can be reached at paulbaseball@msn.com. Read his blog on Tuesdays at http://usgpaul.usglassmag.com.

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