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3 Best Questions to Ask a Prospective Employee Before Making a Hiring Decision

For any small business, company or nonprofit organization, the hiring of new employees is an important step in enabling the company to profit and expand. The key for any business owner or manager is to ensure the most appropriate and qualified candidates are considered and ultimately hired. Though recommendations, cover letters and resumes are all important factors in determining what candidates to consider, it is generally the interview process that reveals the most about each prospective employee. There are three common interview questions that can be the most helpful in evaluating a prospective employee.

What Are You Passionate About?

Asking a prospective employee what he is passionate about serves two major functions. Some employers lead with this question because it is generally a good icebreaker; it allows the individual to openly discuss things he is familiar with, enjoys, and is comfortable talking about. Opening with a similar question often puts the interviewee at ease and initiates an easy flow of communication.

The answer the potential employee gives also serves the purpose of revealing more about his background, areas he is comfortable working in, and spaces in your company where he would take interest. Though the goal is not to hire an individual only because he is excited or interested in working in the specific role you are trying to fill. matching employees with positions that develop their interests is a good way to increase the probability that an employee will do a good job and remain dedicated to working for your company.

What Would You Do If?

This hypothetically phrased, behavioral question is another go-to for many employers because it serves a variety of functions. For example, if you own a small business or startup company, preventing employee theft is an area of major concern because of the potentially disastrous financial consequences for your business. Therefore, you may want to ask the potential employee, What would you do if you caught a co-worker stealing? The answer the interviewee gives will usually reveal his work ethic, his ability to withstand peer pressure, how dedicated an employee he'll be, and the likelihood of his engaging in theft himself.

This type of question can also be used to get a better understanding of how an employee would handle day-to-day tasks and challenges. For example, you could ask, What would you do if you didn't have the resources you need to complete a task? The answer can reveal how the prospective employee handles obstacles, interactions with co-workers and other aspects of his daily work environment.

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

Asking a potential employee where he sees himself in the near future serves one primary purpose. It indicates if the interviewee feels the position at your business is temporary or permanent. Employees who envision themselves continuing at your company can save you time and money in additional hiring and training costs in the future.

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