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Questions When Interviewing a Potential Employee

Finding and keeping good employees is tough, even when there are many applicants. From my unscientific survey, the hit rate is about 50%. The clients that I talk with hire two employees for every one employee that stays with, and is a good employee for, the Company.

The interview process is key in finding and keeping the best candidate. Questions that you can ask are the basics that could affect an employee’s ability to perform their job:

How do you intend to get to work?

  1. Are you willing to relocate if necessary?
  2. Do you have any commitments that would keep you from performing your job tasks such as being at work on time, working overtime, or travelling?

These questions can help you gauge whether a person is committed to pursuing a new career and whether or not they will be an asset or a liability to your company. Next, ask questions that will protect your company from legal action:

Do you have a legal right to work in the U.S.?

  1. Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
  2. Are there any other names you have used so that your employment history can be verified?

Questions such as these will eliminate any candidate that can be a risk to your company’s wellbeing. You would then like to find out a little about why the person is job searching and what they are looking for. These questions are more speculative and open to your interpretation:

  1. Why are you available for hire?
  2. What did you like most and least about your last job?
  3. What motivates you?
  4. What types of people frustrate you?
  5. What does “success” mean to you?

You want to find out the reasons a person may have chosen to leave or been terminated from a previous job. If you know your company and your employees, you should be able to eliminate any candidates that may cause turmoil in the workplace. Having a detailed job description for the position for which you are hiring will help you rate these responses and choose the person who most closely meets the qualifications for the position.

You may have other areas of interest you’d like to know about, but there are some questions that are off limits in an interview.

  1. What is the nationality of your parents or spouse?
  2. What religious holidays do you observe?
  3. Have you ever been arrested?
  4. Do you have children?
  5. When was the last time you used illegal drugs?
  6. What is your maiden name?
  7. Did you serve in the military?

Asking questions such as these and using those answers as a reason not to hire someone can justify a lawsuit for discrimination in most states.

If you have any questions about the legality of the interview process, please contact me.