The Best Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Potential Employee

sepia tone picture with woman speaking on phone, text says the best questions to ask when interviewing a potential employee

What do you look for in your interviews? And, what questions do you ask when interviewing a potential employee to find those qualities? Do you prioritize passion, skills, or education? Like most, you probably pick one and you focus on finding it. You might even be proud of the fact that you only hire people with passion or, an Ivy League degree.

Thinking you can hire someone with a fancy degree or solely based on skills might lead you to a dead end. You can teach skills and build experience, but you can’t teach motivation. You especially can’t buy motivation with a modern office design or catered lunches.

Instead of looking for “passionate people,” hire people motivated by the same cause that started your business in the first place.

“The goal is to hire those who are driven by the same selfless cause or purpose that drives our organizations forward – the Why.”

Here are a few tips on what to look for in an interview and the best questions to ask when interviewing a potential employee.

The Best Questions to Ask and What to Look for in an Interview

Look for passion, but don’t stop there.

Everybody you interview will say they are passionate about the job they applied for. But, you want to find people who genuinely care about your company, not just their job.

First, you need to know exactly why you started this business. What is it about your company that makes you passionate? Once you have a clear idea of this, it will be much easier to find people who feel happy to come to work every day.

How do you know if your potential employee’s passions will align with your business?

Ask: What interests you about working at this company?

Look for answers that align with the reasons you started this business and what makes you excited to go to work.

Look for skills, but don’t make it a deal-breaker.

Skill set is usually a high-priority, especially if you’re hiring for anything more than an entry-level position. But, don’t pass up a good candidate just because they can’t check all your boxes. Skills can be built and refined. Motivation cannot be taught or bought.

How do you find skilled employees who are also motivated and eager to grow?

Ask: What top three skills would you like to improve right now?

Look for candidates eager for a challenge, but who also have an idea how your business would provide the opportunity.

Download the Interview Questions Here

A potential employee won’t always have the skills you set out to find. But, if they are eager to grow, and you know you could provide them the tools to do so, you might have found a perfect fit.

Look for education, but it might be different than what you expected.

A formal education almost always guarantees a base knowledge that is useful early on in anyone’s career. Education is a great way to build ideas, but experience gives the tools and confidence to execute those ideas. In other words, the perfect employee might not have the formal schooling you expected to find.

Ask: What forms of further education have you pursued since formal schooling?

Notice potential employees who have some formal education but look for those who don’t stop there. Do they have certifications in the field you’re hiring for? Have they attended seminars and conferences? Do they have any side projects that would show you their real-life experience?

People with passion for your cause, motivation, and real-life experience are the employees that will go above and beyond for your business. Those are the people who don’t watch the clock, waiting anxiously to exit the building. Those are the kind of people you want to hire.

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