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3 Questions to Successful Hiring

Though the uptick in the economy is small, it signals enough new business for some companies to consider hiring in 2013.

If that’s your goal, it’s not too early to begin the process. You probably have a job description. Most likely you know who is going to train the new hire, where they will sit, which computer will be theirs and what training you’ll provide. You may have an account with Career Builder or Monster or maybe you advertise openings on LinkedIn. Perhaps you post openings internally and encourage employee referrals.

Have you created your interview questions? Employee fit is crucial. Do you know the 3 simple questions that can boost your success in hiring?

If you’re not a recruiter, interviewing candidates who probably have been on more interviews than you’ve ever conducted, can be difficult. Also, some candidates just interview better than they perform on the job. John Younger, CEO of Accolo, a cloud recruiting solutions provider, feels he’s found a way to ‘cut to the chase’ by asking 3 questions.

Start with the first job in the candidates work history. Don’t ask for details or explanations. Ask these three questions for each position listed. Move quickly and take detailed notes.

  1. How did you learn about the job?
  2. Why did you want the job?
  3. Why did you leave the job?

Here’s Younger’s logic:

How did you learn about the job? Job fairs, job boards, online listings is how most people find their first few jobs. Everyone has to start somewhere. No warning bell here. However, a candidate who finds each successive job in the same manner should be viewed as waving a red flag. They may not yet have figured out what they want to do beyond getting a job, any job. Without a focus of what they want to do and where they would like to do it, your job will do until something better comes along.

If by job three or four they haven’t been approached to join someone they previously worked for or with—the red flag keeps waving. This person hasn’t built relationships and therefore hasn’t developed the level of trust that would let someone believe in them enough to go out of their way to recommend them to their management or a valued client.

Why did you want the job? Interviewees should avoid catch phrases like, ‘great opportunity’ ‘love to learn new industries’ or ‘time for a career move.’ The employee you want to hire isn’t looking for a special title or huge comp package. They want the job because they enjoy what they do, they value the work being done and they appreciate the workplace environment. They know what kind of environment suits them, makes them strive to achieve more. They want to be motivated and challenged and that is what they are seeking in a career.

Why did you leave the job? You will get as many reasons as there are people. Better opportunity, more money, closer to home, work-life balance to name a few. If an employee has left many jobs because the employer expected too much, or their boss was difficult, or they didn’t mesh with co-workers that red flag should be wildly flapping. Don’t break rhythm with your questions; keep asking in the same order for each job and you’ll see a pattern emerging. Gather all your information in a non-judgmental manner.

According to Younger, it’s a quick way to get to the core of someone’s sense of teamwork and responsibility. Younger says, “Some people never take ownership and always see problems as someone else’s problems. If candidates have consistently had problems with their bosses and co-workers—they’ll have issues with you and your employees.

Are these three questions foolproof? Hardly not; we’re dealing with people. They can help you avoid ‘choice by charisma.’ When we interview someone we immediately like, we have a tendency to maximize their positives and minimize or even ignore their weaknesses. Similarly, if we dislike someone or have are ambivalent about them, we maximize their shortcomings and marginalize their accomplishments.

These ‘gut reactions’ are split second impressions that should be considered in the event of a tie but not as the entire basis for a hiring decision.