248-409-1900 dburke@mi-worklaw.com

By:  Dan Cohen – 4/8/14

How many of you have ever made a poor hiring decision?  If you are being honest with yourself, the answer is “everyone.”  The smaller your business, the more a bad hire can hurt.  In the case of a start-up, a bad hire can kill your new business.

Talent, alone, is not enough.  You want someone with interest and passion who is the right fit for your company.  Finding that diamond in the rough is  challenging and takes some finesse.  A good interviewer not only confirms the information on the application, but listens carefully to answers and digs a little deeper.  Gaps in job history, missing jobs, and an over-abundance of part-time and short-term jobs must be thoroughly probed because they can indicate failures in past jobs.  An illogical inability to find work, an absurd reason for leaving work and the abandonment of a career path are red flags that should be explored as well.

Of course, interviewers should consider questions that reveal a person’s character and whether he/she should be on your team.   The following questions are worth considering as you narrow the pool of applicants to those that you are really interested in:

  • What is the most difficult problem you have faced in any job?
    • How did you overcome the problem?
    • Have you ever been asked to do something illegal or unethical?
      • How did it make you feel, and what did you do about it?
      • What do you believe are the most important qualities an employer looks for in an applicant?
      • What is your former employer likely to say about you?
      • Have you ever had to terminate an employee and was it the right thing to do?
      • Have you ever been asked to resign? Why?
      • If you could change one thing about most of your past bosses, what would that be?
      • What aspects of your last job did you enjoy the least?
      • Have you ever been accused of harassment in the workplace?  (Never ask if the person made complaints of harassment.)
        • What was the outcome?
        • Would you hire yourself and why?

Don’t just throw a bunch of softballs right across the middle of the plate for the candidate.  Make the candidate work a little bit and convince you he or she is the one.