Building a team is one of the critical jobs of an entrepreneur, and one of the most important factors in building a cohesive and enthusiastic team happens before they are hired–during the interview.
Who you hire will obviously affect your team’s comradery so honing your interview skills can save you lots of time and struggle later. The biggest thing you can do to increase your ratio of excellent hires is to have one or two key questions that you ask every candidate that makes past your managers to your office. Some of the benefits of this rinse and repeat process is:
- It is easier to compare candidates when you ask the same questions.
- You start to hone in on what matters to you and your team’s success by analyzing the answers and altering the questions.
- You’re time interviewing is efficient and yields results.
You can read this article from Entrepreneur about questions asked by other startup CEO’s to get ideas of potential questions, but don’t stop there. Make your questions unique to you and your company.
For example, years ago when I was hiring sales reps after getting to know the candidate a bit I use to toss them some object off my desk and ask them to sell it to me. It could be a stapler, paper clip or pen. I learned a lot from this one exercise. I saw how they handled the stress of such a crazy request, their creativity at selling something mundane and common, how much they had noticed about me from our talk or my office, and their level of humor–all four characteristics of a good sales rep.
One of the questions listed in the article is, “Why are you interested in my company?” Personally, I use this in every situation. A quality candidate will have looked into what you do and know why they are interested. Someone fishing for a job may not have, and they certainly are the first ones to jump to new jobs rather than create energy in a company.
The other question I will ask if the interviewee has not already offered this info is, “What are your 3 – 5-year plans?” It is critical that employees see working at your company as relevant to their future. If they don’t, then you will not have loyal employees, and they will not contribute as wholeheartedly to your success. After all, when your success and the success of your employees line up, that is when magic can happen.