As a business owner, I’m sure you’re no stranger to hiring help. And whether it is for full-time, part-time, in-office, remote, receptionist or a VP, hiring someone is tough. You don’t know if it’s worth the hassle (or money), you’re not sure if the person you want to hire will be a good fit, you’re uncertain how to predict if they’ll be a great worker or not & you’re just not sure where to start. We get it. It’s tough. But it doesn’t have to be!
While so many decision-makers think that it’s all about luck when it comes to hiring (& it can be), often more times than not, your interviewees give you more than enough information to make an informed decision – all you have to do is watch & listen. And since you usually have limited time when interviewing candidates, you want to make the most of it by not wasting precious minutes asking something you probably already know. For example, instead of asking candidates how comfortable they are conducting meetings, showcasing presentations, you can probably pick up on that yourself by the way they talk to you.
- Are they looking you in the eyes when answering questions? (That shows honesty & comfortability)
- Are they enthusiastic when talking with you? (If they can’t step up the pep now, they probably won’t be able to then)
- How are they handling their nerves? (9/10 interviewees will be nervous and that’s ok; what matters is how they handle it)
By simply picking up on these non-verbal cues, you’re able to make a better assessment of the talent at hand, regardless of their answers. In addition to reading body language, here are some key things to look for along with interview questions to help you spot them to help you hire top performers every time (BusinessInsider):
Startups are as fast-paced as they are nebulous. In the modern workplace, it’s not unusual for hires to be the first to hold newly created positions without clear mandates. They need to be able to figure it out while going a hundred miles a minute. At the same time, the inevitable monotony of day-to-day grunt work hasn’t gone anywhere. Through the frenzy and the lulls, you want team members who are tenacious and resilient.
What to ask: “We look for a time the candidate wanted something so badly, they were unstoppable in pursuing it. Or a time they overcame an obstacle,” Hamilton says. As you listen to the answers to those questions, pay close attention to both the tasks and the duration described. “Try to get a sense of how long that person can stick it out. How long are they going to beat their head against a stats problem?”
Because it’s important to remember that true grit might be revealed by something as mundane as a stats problem — you’re not necessarily looking for a heroic story here. A history of persevering through mind-numbing boredom can be one of the most valuable predictors of strong performance.
Data, and the tools we use to get it, are multiplying. And that’s great news — but numbers in a vacuum are meaningless. “It’s true in every single job, from entry-level to the executive suite: you need to be analytical and data driven and exhaustive. More and more tools are available, but you have to know what questions to ask of these tools,” says Hamilton. Rigor refers to a candidate’s ability to take in evidence, integrate information from multiple sources, derive meaning from it, and make critical decisions quickly. Whether you’re a data scientist or a customer success rep, you need to be able to do this.
What to ask: In many ways, this is the easiest trait to test. For more technical roles, you can even build a timed Excel test with some practice problems or logic tests. Otherwise, case-style questions will do the trick. “Ask candidates to tell you about a time they used data to make a decision. Look for details about the complexity of the data and how the thinking happened, rather than focusing on the right answer,” Hamilton says.
Leaders need to know that everyone on the team understands the company’s goals and is structuring their work to achieve them. You want to find people who can think deeply about their roles — people who have advanced understanding of how their work connects to their coworkers’ and the company at large — and organize their priorities to drive business value in the right ways.
What to ask: Have your candidate tell you about a time they had a measurable (read: quantitative) impact on a job or an organization. For example, were they responsible for generating revenue or recruiting X new teammates or doubling the number of people reached. Another valuable line of inquiry: Ask about a person or organization that the candidate admires, and why they think that person or organization has made an important impact. “You’re looking for signs that the candidate understands the larger picture, and that they can speak to the importance of making trade-offs and prioritizing appropriately.”
After all is said (and analyzed), just make sure that trust your gut instincts on who will not only succeed in the position you’re hiring for, but also contribute in a positive manner to your business’ core values & development.
Read the full list of interview questions at Business Insider.