Let’s say you’re hiring someone for the Office Manager position. What are some of the routine problems for this position?
Gather together a list of at least three of these and then ask your applicant how she would solve them.
“Sally, as Office Manager, you encounter an employee who has recently been leaving a bit early and getting in a bit late. How would you handle this?”
With Sally’s answer, probe a bit further on this.
Would Sally pass on this information to the company owner? How vigorously would Sally follow up to ensure this employee is adhering to the company schedule? You could even ask Sally if there are certain employees—let’s say, the top producers—who would have the freedom not to abide by the company schedule.
Moving on to another subject:
“Sally, if the owner of the company asked you to do something that is perhaps a bit unethical, what would be your response to that?”
Again, ask Sally additional questions to acquire a deeper insight into her thinking.
As a last example:
“Sally, you’ve been working here for a year or so and you discover the company is in serious trouble. What do you believe your approach would be in this situation? Would you be tweaking your résumé and looking for other job opportunities, or would you be intent on helping the company pull out of it?”
This last question presents an interesting challenge as Sally might simply give you the answer you’re looking for. Pay close attention to Sally’s mannerisms as she answers this as they will likely present you with clues to what she really believes.
There are of course many questions you could ask, and I recommend you have a list of them prepared for each position at your company.
Then, when a position comes open, you can grab your list and wade right in.
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