Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

What to Ask in an Interview (part 1 of 5)


Interviewing someone to fill a vacant position can be daunting for a manager.  Many managers just don’t know what to ask or why to ask it.  In our book, “The Manager’s Toolbox,” we have 67 questions that can guide a manager through the interview process.

A “Manager from the Heart” hires to the position, while keeping the “bigger picture” in mind.  I   look for someone who will be compatible to working in an “Open Heaven” environment.  I want someone who is teachable.  I can do almost anything with someone who is teachable.

First of all, I am the one who interviews the individual, not someone from personnel.  It’s important I chose my staff and not someone who will never see them again and has no idea what I want in my staff.

The interview process itself is an invaluable opportunity for me to:

1)  get an understanding of who this individual is and where they want to go,

2)  evaluate if this person will be able to function in my particular work environment,

3)  discern if this individual is “teachable,”

4)  and most importantly, bond with the individual if I deem them appropriate for my staff.

If I believe this individual will be a good fit for my department, the interview process enables me to begin the “bonding process.”  I will learn about the individual and they will learn about me.  I will begin a “preliminary initiation” to the concept of “Open Heaven” and what my role as manager will be.

But how can I tell if an individual has what I’m looking for?

I will ask open-ended questions, float balloons, watch for red flags, read body language, and peal the onion.   I will first want to invite the person in (preferably into my office) and make him feel comfortable and important (see page 180).

The following are only suggestions for questions you may find helpful in determining whether an individual is someone you will want to invest in.

1.  What brings you to (the name of your organization) ?

(example:  What brings you to Manager Development Services? )  Of course, this person is looking for a job, but this is a way to get a feel of what he knows about your company.  This question is also a “lead in” to the next question.

2.  What is your understanding of what we do here?

This is a straight on follow-up question to the first question.  This allows the interviewee to give and in-depth account of what he knows and also allows me to see how well this individual has done his homework.

3. Why do you want to work for us?

This allows me to check for motivation.  By reading body language, I’m able to discern if this is practiced or genuine.

4.  If you were hired, how do you see yourself benefitting (Manager Development Services?)

This question gives the individual an opportunity to explain his attributes and skills, and again, his understanding of what you are looking for in this position. Is this person looking at the bigger picture?  Has this person done their homework?

5.  What exactly makes you think you would do well at this particular position?

This question is “position specific.”  Will the individual just repeat what he answered in the previous question or will he get specific?   Usually, the individual will expound on his experiences at this point.

6. Tell me about your experience in this field.

This is a “fish or cut bait” question.  This allows me to discern the individual’s honesty. By reading body language, I’m able to decipher if his reply is rehearsed or genuine.

7.  If you were hired, do you see yourself staying in this position indefinitely?

This indicates the individual’s motivation.

8. Tell me about yourself:

Of course, this is the most often asked question in any interview, and yet, few interviewers really know why they ask it.  What exactly are you looking for when asking this question?  Personally, I look for:  a)  does this individual have a sense of themselves (purpose),  b)  are they full of themselves,  c)  do they have a sense of direction (where they want to go),  d)  can they perceive a “bigger picture,” and  e)  are they “teachable.”

9. Do you consider yourself successful in your personal life?

This is a “lead in” question.  Of course, this person will answer, “yes,” at which you counter with “how?”  This question gives me a good sense of what this person values and whether they are just telling me what they think I want to hear.

10.  What have you done in this past year to nurture success in your personal life?

This gives me an idea of the individual’s ability to have vision and the willingness to work toward it.

11.  Do you consider yourself successful in your professional life?

Of course, this person will answer, “yes,” at which you counter with “how do you feel you are successful?”

12.  What have you done in this past year to nurture success in your professional life?

Again, this gives me an idea of the individual’s ability to have vision and the willingness to work toward it.

13. What would you say your greatest strength is?

This allows the person to express their personal “selling points.”

14.  If I spoke with your previous employers what would they say your greatest strengths are?

This question gives the individual an opportunity to get honest and let’s me compare this answer with the answer to #13.

–  excerpt from “The Manager’s Toolbox.”

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March 24, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Employee Coaching, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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