Hiring has sometimes been compared to speed-dating except that a bad date costs $15,000. That’s the average cost of a bad hire in the US today, but individual bad hiring decisions can cost far more than that. Compound that cost with the fact that around 74 percent of employers have made bad hiring decisions and 22 percent admitted that they currently lack the resources to interview and hire people effectively.
Before your next interview session, look at these eight questions that have guided other firms in discovering the precise combination of skills, experience and personality that can define an ideal team member.
1. If YouTube suddenly couldn’t do pre-roll ads anymore, how would you monetize it?
This is an actual question Google used to ask employees and the new YouTube Red subscription service came out of those discussions. Interviews are about getting to know people, but they are also about testing the waters to see how innovative people can be under pressure. Look at some of your company’s biggest challenges and convert one of them into an interview question to start thinking differently.
2. How would you describe the Internet to an 8-yr-old in three sentences or less?
This is another question from a leading tech firm, in this case, Microsoft. They wanted to find out if the candidate could break down extremely complex explanations into bite-sized chunks that can be effective for making decisions on the fly. In the new world, the best idea doesn’t always win. The one who takes market leadership is the one who gets the best idea across to the maximum number of people in the most memorable way.
3. If you could hit reset on the past five years, what would you do differently?
This can be an emotional trigger for some candidates, surfacing their frustrations or reminding them how much they really want to do something else. Look for red flags like signs of conflicts with previous employers or indications that the candidate’s heart is elsewhere.
4. What do you do to relieve stress?
Stress is an essential part of the working world today, where disruptive business models can appear overnight and competitors from the other side of the world can suddenly shake up market dynamics. Find out if the candidate is going to help the team handle the unexpected or contribute to the chaos of stressful situations.
5. What does the perfect work environment look like?
This is a great way to find out how much homework the candidate has done about your company culture and how hard it will be for them to adjust to new conditions. If your company is looking at improving employee morale overall, this question can bring in original concepts that you can present to your team about making the workspace more productive.
6. If Hollywood was casting someone to play you in a movie, what would the movie be about and who do you want to play you?
This is a very serious question masquerading as a fun, pop-media bonding moment. Although it is critical to put the candidate at ease to arrive at more honest, less prepared answers, this question is about teamwork. Try to determine how the candidate perceives themselves and what sort of movie they feel like they are living in at the moment. Even if the candidate has the skills and experience you need, it won’t make a difference if ego issues stand in the way of effective collaboration with your current team.
7. What role has luck played in your success?
Napoleon said it best: “All great events hang by a hair, I believe in luck, and the wise man neglects nothing which contributes to his destiny.” A candidate who merely attributes all of their success to their own hard work is probably not capable of accurately assessing the contributions of others or the subtle influences of timing. Look for humility but also some intelligent insights into which safeguards can be put in place to maximize the likelihood of completing tasks on time and under budget.
8. What is your brand voice/tagline/slogan?
Everyone who is confident in themselves has an elevator speech about who they are, even if they don’t think of it that way. Personal branding is a survival skill in the new entrepreneurial workplace where accomplishments matter most. Lean operations can’t support workers who merely fill up an office chair while they put in the time. It’s an employer’s responsibility to know their workers, but it is the workers’ responsibility to know themselves.
Clearly, choosing wisely can be a major competitive advantage. In the past, hiring managers sometimes brought in co-workers to ask the right questions, but usually ended up making the final cut based on their gut instinct. Now leading companies are using intelligent software to help them make more data-driven decisions because so much is riding on getting it right.
The best way to make the right decision is to start with a clear understanding of which factors help your team succeed. Buzzuzz helps you identify the characteristics of your current top performers, so you can benchmark these qualities against new candidates. Know your team better and you will know who you need to bring onboard to take the business forward in new ways.