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10 Great Questions to Ask Your Potential Small Biz Employees

By: Morgan Sims


Knowing everything you can about a possible new hire is imperative to a company’s success. Finding out what kind of employee a person will be in under an hour means you have to ask the right questions. Read on to find ten questions you should consider asking at an interview.

1. Why Do You Want This Position?
When to Ask: 1st or 2nd question.
What Does the Question Show: A person’s reason for finding a new job is important because it dictates their efforts. If the prospect is in it for the money, you can assume that when it isn’t enough they may move on. If it’s their dream job, then you can expect more effort. Start-ups and nonprofit organizations should pay close attention to this question.
Personality Traits Revealed: Ambition, enthusiasm.
Question Variations: “What would a position like this do for you personally?” “What made you apply for this position?
2. When Was The Last Time That Something Made You Furious?
When to Ask: Anywhere but first or last.
What Does the Question Show: This question reveals how the job candidate processes conflict. It also gives you situations to tie directly to your work environment.
Personality Traits Revealed: Anger Management, Mental Toughness.
Question Variations: “What does it take to make you truly angry?” 
3. Describe What You Think Your Day to Day Operations Will Be?
When to Ask: Last third of the interview.
What Does the Question Show: The prospect knows the commitment they are making. If you’re hiring a network administrator that thinks their days will be high level programming and no troubleshooting, then that prospect hasn’t researched the job.
Personality Traits Revealed: Preparedness, deductive reasoning skill.
Question Variations: “What do you think a typical day in this job is like?” 
4. What Are You Worried Will be Most Challenging for You?
When to Ask: Toward the end.
What Does the Question Show: It makes the potential candidate show their weakness in a way that relates to the position. This question also effectively shows where you need to coach them. This wording helps avoid the loophole responses to “What’s your greatest weakness?
Personality Traits Revealed: Self-Awareness.
Question Variations: “Tell me what you’re going to have the hardest time with working here.” 
5. What Was the Last Thing That Made You Cry Tears Of Joy?
When to Ask: Anywhere but first or last.
What Does the Question Show: The prospect’s hopes and dreams become clear. It shows you the truly passionate parts of their life. It is highly recommended to avoid the reverse (tears of sadness) of the question! 
Personality Traits Revealed: Passion.
6. What is Something That Will Affect Your Work Performance Negatively?
When to Ask: Early.
What Does the Question Show: You’ll know what will make the employee have a bad day and you can tie these triggers to your work environment. If someone can’t work in loud environments and they are applying for a position on a sales floor, there’s bound to be problems in the future.
Personality Traits Revealed: Learning and working style.
Question Variations: “What’s something that is guaranteed to make you have a bad day at work?” 
7. Describe Any Experience You May Have With the Technical Aspect of the Position
When to Ask: After the job description.
What Does the Question Show: There’s nothing better than not having to teach an employee how to use your software. If your company is hiring an IT professional for a huge network that requires company-wide updates, you want someone who knows how to use effective job scheduling and network management software—preferably the exact software your company uses.
Personality Traits Revealed: Learning Pace, Technical Proficiency.
Question Variations: “What software are you familiar with?” “Have you ever used ____ before?
8. What, in Your Opinion, Was Your Most Effective Conflict Resolution?
When to Ask: Third.
What Does the Question Show: This immediately lets you know if the prospect has similar values as the company, by revealing the prospect’s idea of a well resolved conflict.
Personality Traits Revealed: Assertiveness, Diplomacy, Emotional IQ.
9. What’s The Last Good Movie You Saw?
When to Ask: First or Second.
What Does the Question Show: First this is a great ice-breaker; second you can tell a lot about a person based on the movies they watch.
10. What Does “Turning the Menial Into the Meaningful” Mean to You?
When to Ask: After the job description.
What Does the Question Show: Every job has its boring parts. The ability to make something mundane seem important is an invaluable character trait to any employer. You will want to push for examples.
Personality Traits Revealed: Self-Motivation, Commitment, Work-Ethic.
While there are a million questions you can ask, and the style in which you interview will become second nature to you, it’s very helpful to consider questions that other interviewers have already tried for you.
What are some questions you make sure to ask of people you interview?
Published: August 20, 2013

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Morgan Sims

Morgan Sims is a freelance writer who loves all things tech and social media. When she's not trying out new gadgets and tweeting she spends most of her time with her dog, cooking and staying active. Follow her @MorganSims00.

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