Hiring is hard.
It’s hard to hire your first employee, and it’s still hard to hire your 100th employee. The hiring process is a time consuming, energy draining challenge, and it’s only becoming more frequent as turnover rates continue to increase. The best way to find, get, and keep great employees is to hire based on cultural fit.
When conducting an interview based on this practice, there are only four questions that really matter. They will tell you everything you need to know about the person you are interviewing, and how compatible he/she will be with your company’s culture.
1. How did the culture at your last company encourage or discourage your success?
This question is threefold. It will reveal (1) what your candidate company cultural values are, (2) how important company culture is to them, and (3) their level of professionalism based on how they talk about their previous employee.
From here, you can determine whether or not your candidates will be happy and successful in your company’s environment. Don’t forget, what Susie says of Sally, says more of Susie than of Sally. Hearing how your potential employees talk about where they used to work will reveal just about everything you need to know about their character.
2. Who was the best boss you ever had and why?
If you didn’t get a good idea about your candidate’s cultural values and motivating factors from the last question, you will from this one. Did they tell you a story about how their last boss provided them with a monthly performance evaluation? Or did they emphasize how their boss sent them home for the afternoon when they were heartbroken after being cheated on? Their answers will give you an idea about what is important to them.
3. Describe how you handled a conflict with one of your coworkers.
Understanding how your candidates dealt with conflict is important because it tells you what he/she views as appropriate conflict resolution behavior. It’s an indirect route to learning his/her personality traits. You’d be surprised at how aggressive people can be when faced with opposition, and you’d be equally as surprised to see how passive they can be. How your employees handle conflict is a true testament to your company’s culture.
4. Ideally, what kind of feedback would you like from a supervisor and how often would you like to receive it?
This tells you a lot about an individual’s attitude toward feedback and constructive criticism. The frequency and type of feedback that is given at a company is a reflection of their culture. Does the candidate expect the feedback to be tied to core values or toward role performance? Does he/she want it more often, as a part of constant process of growth and improvement or as an annual formality?
To find the right employee for your company, the only wrong answer is a dishonest one. So make your candidate comfortable, you don’t want to find out what they think you want to hear, you want to learn who they are and what is important to them.