This article first appeared on Apploi.com on October 22, 2013.
I’m learning how to hire. My business is growing and recently I needed to hire a new customer service rep.
So I got a book on interviews and read some articles online.
Every HR expert seems to have their own strongly-held-to opinion about the best questions to ask, and what to look for in candidates.
So I listed out all of these “must-ask” questions that I read about. After the third interview, I realized that the questions I ask aren’t as important as simply knowing these three things about someone.
If I knew these three things, then I’d be comfortable hiring them, no matter how many years experience they have or what question I remembered to ask them.
When going into a job interview, make it your number 1 goal to be sure your interviewer knows these three things, even if they don’t ask directly.
Can You Be Trained To Do the Job?
I am building a new process for handling clients. My new customer service rep will be part of developing that new process. So I can’t just ask her, “Can you do this?”
What I need to know is if she can learn my way of doing things using my software.
The best answer I received about this was from the 2nd candidate who told me a story of her last job where she observed how chaotic the boss was. Then after a few weeks, she built a system to help keep him, and the business, more organized.
I’d rather hire that experience, than someone who simply knows how to handle an angry customer (which is also important, but can also be trained). I needed someone trainable and flexible.
Do I Even Like You?
One of the must-ask questions I read about was, “If you had a superpower, what would it be? Why?”
I asked all of my candidates. Many of them wanted to be invisible. Not a fan!
One laughed at my questions (good sign!) and then asked me the question back (ask a good sign).
I told her I would fly. She said, “That’s a good one. I think I would teleport. I like to travel but don’t like waiting for visas”
This one conversation stood out to me because it wasn’t a one-word answer. There was some humor and character. She showed personality and I like that.
If I were to hire her, I’d have to get along with her. I’d also rely on her to give me feedback I might not want to hear.
What Really Motivates You?
Anyone can BS a job interview. I know. I’ve done it many times!
But what happens six months, 12 months, later. Are you still has peppy as you seemed that first day?
In my recent interviews, I was looking for candidates who could show me that they liked what they did and had every intention of keep up that energy for a long time. Sure, I’m just offering them a job. They don’t have to live and die for it. But some amount of interest would be nice!
One candidate’s passion for building desktop computers, alone, was a red flag. He spends his free time at a very individual task. Even as an introvert myself, I still like to be with people, friends or family.
Whereas another candidate showed most excitement when talking about interesting conversations he’s had with random people during his vacation holidays.
I’d go for the person excited about conversations for my customer service job!
Can You Answer These Before the Interview
Keeping these three questions in mind and trying to answer them during a job interview is going to help you land meaningful work.
But if you can answer these questions BEFORE you sit down for an interview, you’re one step ahead. Not only will you land more interviews, but your interviewer will be more at ease with you.
The trick is to make sure your LinkedIn Profile, Facebook timeline and other social networks answer these questions.