April 1, 2019 Last updated March 26th, 2019 120 Reads share

7 Questions to Ask Yourself About a Candidate Before Hiring Them

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Hiring a candidate is no easy task. It takes a lot of time and energy to find the ideal candidate. And if you’re not careful, you could hurt your business by hiring the wrong person.

As an experienced business owner, I have spent countless hours trying to find perfect candidates for my company. I know how much effort goes into hiring someone who not only fits your criteria but also fits in with your company culture.

I wish I could say all of the candidates I hired worked out and that everything was fine and dandy. But sometimes, you miss the mark and hire someone who is not qualified or right for the job. To avoid hiring mishaps, ask yourself questions before you fully commit to a candidate.

7 Questions to ask yourself before hiring

To avoid hiring the wrong candidate, you must ask your candidates the right questions. And, you need to ask yourself several questions about a candidate before you decide to hire them. Ask yourself these seven questions before you hire a candidate.

1. Is the candidate qualified?

This first question may seem obvious. However, you need to ask yourself this before hiring an employee. The last thing you want to do is hire someone who is underqualified or not a good fit for the position.

Many candidates can show up knowing an impressive amount about your business and seem passionate about the position. But, you must look past what they know about your company and focus on their experience.

To find out if a candidate is qualified, ask questions about their prior experience and review their qualifications. Use a candidate’s resume to generate specific questions. For example, you might ask a candidate for the details of a project listed on their resume.

Compare their interview question responses to their resume. Does the information line up?

Typically, you can weed out unqualified candidates early on. You likely will be able to tell who does not fit the requirements.

2. Will they fit the company culture?

Your employees help drive and build company culture. Ask yourself with every potential new hire, Will the candidate fit in with the company culture?

According to one source, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is essential to business success. Your candidate and culture can ultimately determine the success of your company.

To hire great employees, look for individuals who fit the mold of your company. They should be able to get along with other employees and understand and share your organization’s values.

New hires and current employees must be able to mesh. Now, I’m not saying it has to be a perfect fit. Conflict in the workplace is inevitable. But, hiring a candidate you think will fit the company culture allows for a smoother transition for everyone involved.

While interviewing candidates, take a look at how comfortable they are, their attitude, and what their personality is like. Be sure to ask them behavioral interview questions, especially about teamwork experience.

3. What is their character like?

If you want to make a successful hire, look for the character. Many candidates can put on an act during the hiring process. It’s your job to identify which candidates are genuine.

Use character-identifying questions during interviews. Ask questions like, Tell me about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted. What is a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?

Consider going outside the box of “normal” interview questions and ask things like, What is your superpower? If you opened your own business, what type of company would it be and why?

Although some of these questions might not exactly pertain to the position, they can show you certain characteristics and personality traits of candidates, as well as give you an idea of who they really are.

4. How well do they communicate?

Communication is key in the workplace. How do you expect workers to be productive if they can’t effectively communicate with one another?

According to one source, one of the top skills employers look for from candidates is communication skills. I know that skill ranks up there for me, too.

Pay attention to candidates’ body language and the way they speak. Do they seem relaxed and comfortable? Are they quiet when they speak? Do they mumble?

The way a candidate communicates during the interview process can foreshadow how they will interact with other employees. If a candidate has poor communication skills, you may need to reconsider hiring them.

Keep in mind that your body language and tone can throw candidates off their game, too. You can’t expect a candidate to be comfortable if you’re giving off a bad vibe.

While interviewing candidates, create a relaxing interview environment to help calm nerves. Be sincere and patient when asking questions. Consider starting off the conversation with small talk to break the ice.

5. Are they ambitious?

If a candidate doesn’t have the drive, how can you expect them to succeed and help grow your business?

While interviewing candidates, get a feel for how ambitious they are. How strong is their determination? Ask questions that revolve around goals to find out their level of dedication.

Some questions you may want to ask include, Where do you see yourself five years from now? What are your long-term goals? Ask the candidate to tell you some of their career goals and ask why they are pursuing those specific goals.

Finding an ambitious candidate could mean hiring someone who sticks with your company for the long run.

6. Did they ask you questions?

You’d be surprised how many candidates I’ve interviewed who never asked me a single question. Candidates who fail to ask questions might not care about the role, your company, and whether or not they are hired.

Give candidates the opportunity to ask you questions before the interview ends. A lack of questions could be a huge warning sign for your business.

If candidates decide to ask questions, what they ask you will tell you more about who they are. And, the types of questions gives you an idea of the candidate’s thoughts and what they consider important to ask.

7. Do you have any doubts?

Sometimes you have to trust your gut when hiring employees. Believe me, I learned the hard way. I once had to fire an employee with a police escort because she threatened to beat up another worker. Needless to say, I should have trusted my gut when hiring her.

At some point, you will encounter a candidate who had glowing reviews from their references, passed their background check with flying colors, and aced their interviews. But if something still seems off, listen to your gut. Having doubts about candidates can be a huge red flag.

It’s easy to overlook something when a candidate looks good on paper and has impressive interviews.

If you have an instinct that something is off, don’t be afraid to investigate the candidate further. If something needs to be addressed, look into it. You don’t want to regret not looking into it while you had the chance.

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Mike Kappel

Mike Kappel

Mike Kappel is the president of Patriot Software, LLC., which develops online accounting and payroll software for small business owners. He has also founded four other successful small businesses, and he is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs find their way to success

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