Nine Questions

More than 50% of the hiring decision is based on "gut instincts", those intuitive feelings we get when we meet the candidate with the right stuff. A quick review of a resume helps us determine if a candidate has the right technical skills for a job, but how do we probe deeper to find the deeper issues of personality, cultural fit and style?

Over the past 20+ years of recruiting I've found nine questions that quickly and efficiently determine the potential for the ever popular square peg in a square hole fit. The magnitude of that potential though can only be found if the candidate is given an opportunity to demonstrate how they will actually "do the work."

Here are the nine questions:

1) Of the jobs you've held, which one did you like the best? Look for similarities to the job you're offering.

2) How did you get each of your positions? This is a question indicative of resourcefulness and offers clues if an individual is more inclined to move away from a job or move toward a job.

3) What are your short range professional goals for the next two years? How does this compare to the position being discussed? Remember, if you don't know where you're going you'll probably end up somewhere else.

4) If you could do anything, what would you do? The answer you get will indicate where a person fits in the organization. Look for a mix of creative imagination and reality and how that matches the responsibilities of the job.

5) Why are you interested in our company? or Why are you interested in leaving your present job? This is an attitude indicator and a chance for you to see if a candidate has researched your company to determine how their career can be enhanced by employment with you.

6) What do you do in your spare time? This one is all about attitude and aptitude. Sports (team), bridge (intellectual), children (family motivated) -- the clues should be obvious.

7) What are your long range professional goals? Match these with #3 and your own long range objectives.

8) What are your strengths and weaknesses? Self-knowledge is an indicator of how well someone can accept criticism and how much they need to be managed.

9) How have you changed over the last five years? This one is about personal progress, both professionally and personally. Follow up with "How would you like to change?" to see if what you offer matches their own assessment.