A Guest Post by Thomas Warren
Hiring new employees is always a challenging endeavor. You never really know what you’re going to get until they actually show up to work. The point is, it’s a mixed bag. So how do you decide which applicants offer the best solution for your company? Aside from knowing the requirements of the position, there are several things to look for when considering potential hires.
Clearly, the first thing to check is references. If an applicant has lied on their resumé, what else will they lie about? That is a situation best avoided. If they actually make it to the interview, there are several things you should take note of. For starters, are they appropriately dressed? Anyone coming to an interview, and I mean anyone, should be smartly appointed in business-casual attire, at the very least. I don’t care if they’re interviewing to be a dishwasher, they shouldn’t come dressed in last night’s rumpled t-shirt and baggy jeans. On the other hand, if the applicant shows up in clean (albeit casual clothes) with the explanation that they are unable to afford a nicer outfit, at least it shows that they have a clue about what is appropriate, and that is acceptable at your discretion. Also note if they are on time. Tardiness is a bad habit that is not easily broken.
But those are the simple signs. Other clues to a good employee are harder to spot, but simple body language will alert you to potential problems. For starters, does the applicant look you in the eye? This is a dead giveaway. A confident and honest person will look you in the eye when answering your questions, whereas a person who is anxious or evasive will look anywhere else. Nervousness aside, you don’t want someone representing your company who cracks under the pressure of an interview. You want someone who is natural and at ease. Although you may want to avoid people who seem too cocky or arrogant. These types can be almost as off-putting to clients as the nervous ones.
You can also ask them unusual questions. No doubt you have a list of common questions like, “Why did you leave your last job?” and “Why do you think you’re a good fit for this company?” A few that may not be on you list, but should be, are:
Tell me about a conflict you had at a previous job and how you resolved it. (shows how they react to high-stress situations)
What made you want to apply for this job? (see what motivates them)
List your three best and worst qualities. (everyone is prepared with a list of good attributes, but you’ll see how well they think on their feet with the bad list…if they’re quick, they’ll come up with bad qualities that are actually good, such as “I’m a perfectionist” or “I have trouble turning over project to others”)
What product or service that we offer interests you most? (see who did their homework)
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would you choose and why? (this is a neat one to throw in because it gives you some insight into their personal interests…will they choose a religious or political figure? A celebrity? A family member? You can tell a lot about a person by how they answer this question, and it’s also kind of fun)
At the end of the day, you want someone who’s not only going to be able to do the job, but who also has the potential to excel, advance, and fit in at your company. You don’t have to settle for someone who’s just good enough when you can have an employee that’s amazing. And having the right credentials doesn’t always guarantee a good employee, so be sure to look into all of your options before you choose. It may take a little longer to find that diamond in the rough, but when you do, you’ll be glad you made the extra effort.
Thomas Warren is a content writer for Go College, one of the oldest and most trusted resources to guide students on how to finance and succeed in college.