Questions to ask - before hiring an employee

Technology, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) seeks to cut out the very work that professional service advisors do.

By Law Squared

Great candidates can be the difference between your business finding new opportunities and markets or a period of stagnation (or worse) while you sort out personality problems. As a start, it's important to think about what kind of role you are interviewing for and then plan your questions (and format of the interview) accordingly. Asking the right questions is your secret weapon for identifying the best candidates to take your business forward. 

With only a limited amount of time in each interview to try and get to know the candidate's emotional intelligence and awareness, asking the right questions can give you the insights you need to ensure there are no glaring deficiencies that may upset team balance or result in your company being put at risk. To be clear, these questions should sit amongst the usual list of 'tell me about a time you demonstrated this quality...' and 'what did you do in a difficult situation to remedy it?' style questions. The questions below are designed to get a better sense for the candidate's working manner and personality. It's important that the candidate feels comfortable enough to divulge honest and unrehearsed story lines, Having said this, the best candidates will be confident enough to address what these questions are looking for directly, and the cream will rise to the top. 


'Tell me about something you have created'

A candidate who has created something, has contemplated their skills, limitations, the constraints of a busy life and set out to do something anyway is valuable. They have the initiative to size up what can and can't be done, and will take steps to producing something which will add to their own skill-set, reward them through experience, and teach them something along the way. Even if there isn't a positive result at the end of the exercise, one can take these low-cost failures and draw from the lessons next time - lessons that will add to your business.


'What do you like/what would you change about our company?'

This question perfectly exemplifies the importance of preparation for an interview. No business is perfect but being too negative may speak directly to the communication and thought processes of your candidate.

A candidate who has done their research will be able to calmly deliver a surface level appraisal based on the perception of the company, and how this could be addressed in a general way. On the other hand, one who offers a meek response perhaps hasn't take the time to research the company or doesn't have what it takes to offer suggestions considering the potential criticism. 


'What do you like to do outside of work?'

Once you have established someone has the initiative and the know-how, you want to know that you can get along with someone. This is about balance. Does your ideal candidate have another outlet to manage stress? Have they committed to other areas in life and achieved skills which will add value to their work output? As mentioned earlier, these pieces won't guarantee you get the best person for the job you're recruiting for, but they will reveal parts of a personality that is thoughtful, future-wary, and balanced; all qualities which are likely to add to the ability of a candidate to succeed in your team. Outside of this, don't be afraid to follow your intuition, your gut feeling. If something doesn't sit right, walk away. 


At Law Squared, we partner with passionate entrepreneurs and businesses who need our technical help and expertise. We’d love to have a chat with you, so feel free to drop us an email hello@lawsquared.co.


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