Hire Better Employees With These Questions

Looking for the right employee can sometimes feel not like looking for a needle in a haystack, but looking for the right needle in a stack full of also potentially good needles. A much harder task! It can also be a stressful time for employers, who want to find the best candidate possible and also fill the role with an individual who will excel in the short and long term.

The best chance an employer has of discovering the true character of a potential employee comes during the interview. However, interviews are only as useful as the questions asked. To the get most out of every interview, be sure to ask questions that will allow you to judge a candidate’s potential in both the long term and the short term. It is easy to modify typical interview questions to help broaden the answers you receive.

  • For example, you might ask, “What are your greatest strengths?”

To get a better idea of how these have changed or may change in the future, you can ask, “What did you consider your greatest strengths when you first started in the security industry, and have those changed over time?” This challenges candidates to think beyond the simple answer, and reflect on how far they have come and their capacity to adapt over the course of their career. It also allows you to weigh whether or not the candidate values the short over the long term, or vice versa.

  • Or, maybe you are interested in a candidate’s problem solving skills, and pose a situation where a problem has occurred, and ask how your potential employee would handle it.

A truly valuable employee will see problems coming, however. So instead, re-frame the question and suggest a situation where a problem has not yet occurred, but warning signs are present, and ask what your employee thinks will happen next. This will give you a good idea of how forward thinking your candidate is, a skill that can save you money, energy and opportunity in the future.

  • Employers want to know how long their employees will stay with the company. Without a Magic 8 Ball, the best way to judge this is usually by asking, “What are your career goals?”

When thinking about both the short and long term, the best predictor of future behavior is the past. So try asking, “Are you where you thought you would be five years ago?” This is helpful in determining if your candidate is motivated, has follow through and also if they are able to change their career paths when, or if, unexpected opportunities come up.

In my work I see a lot of great security professionals, but I also know that not every skilled professional is the perfect fit for every job. By asking the right questions and thinking about the long and short term, you will get a more well rounded view of the employee and be able to judge more accurately how they will succeed in your company.

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