Hiring employees for a business is an incredible task, to say the least.

Anyone who’s been on the hiring side of interviewing knows how tedious and, at times, hopeless, interviewing can be. 

There seems to be one good prospect for every 10 bad ones. However, having a solid list of questions can save you a ton of time and frustrations

1. Why Do You Want This Job?

This is one of the most basic questions to ask potential employees. This question serves multiple purposes. 

First, you can assess how long they are likely to stay at the position in-question based on their answer. 

Second, their answer can tell you all you need to know concerning their regard for the company vs. their regard for earning a quick buck.

2. What Are Your Strengths Pertaining to This Job?

This is an interesting question to ask potential employees, mostly because their answer will speak a lot about their personality. 

For example, their answer could be demonstrative of an insecure, smug, confident, or cocky potential employee.

3. What Are Your Job Performance Weaknesses?

Another one of the more popular questions to ask potential employees, this question will help you evaluate someone’s modesty, honesty, and ego.

Someone with “zero” weaknesses is likely blowing smoke.

4. What Did You Like and Dislike About Your Previous Job?

This question provides a great opportunity for you to get to know your interviewee’s work dynamic

Potential employees will take this opportunity to trash their last job, admit weaknesses, or express their ideal job. This is a time to observe their true-colors.  

5. Why Are You Leaving Your Previous Job?

While you can’t ask why someone was fired, this question may give you a good idea if that’s what happened.

Otherwise, your interviewee may use this time to give you a good idea of whether or not they’ll be leaving your position anytime soon.

6. Can You Describe a Time Where You Were Met with Conflict and How You Handled It?

This is one of the best questions to ask a potential employee. Here, they will indirectly show some strengths or weaknesses. 

Conflict arises in nearly every job, it’s human nature. How your potential employee handles those types of situations is incredibly relevant to determining how hirable they are.

7. Can You Give an Example of a Criticism You’ve Received from a Previous Boss and How You Handled It? 

Once again, a question like this will give you some insight into a person’s ego. Some people can take criticism, some can’t. You want an employee who can accept and grow from constructive criticism.

8. How Would You Describe Yourself as an Employee?

How someone describes themselves as an employee is generally a rehearsed, fabricated version of the truth. Look for an interviewee who is genuine in their answer. Confident, yet modest.

9. What Is Your Ideal Work Environment?

This is a great question to ask potential employees because it will give you a good idea of whether or not they’ll fit in at your business.

If someone needs a relaxed, quiet atmosphere but is applying for a busy restaurant, they won’t last long.

10. What Kind of Questions Do You Have For Me?

Finally, one of the most common yet underutilized questions to ask employees gives you a chance to see how engaged they are. 

If it’s a truly simple job, they might not have any questions. Alternatively, it may show that they don’t really care. Use your best judgment, but treat this question just as important as the others.

Illegal Questions to Ask Potential Employees

It may surprise you, but as a business owner, you may put yourself in legal jeopardy if you ask the wrong questions during an interview.

For example, as an employer, it’s important that your staff is drug-free. You can buy drug tests and fire employees who pop positive for drugs.

However, you can’t ask potential employees about their drug history. You can ask them if they are currently on any illegal drugs, but that’s about the extent of it.

The following are more examples of illegal interview questions:

  • Do you own or rent your home?
  • Have you ever declared bankruptcy?
  • How much do you weigh?
  • How tall are you?
  • Do you have children?
  • What denomination are you?

All About Business

There’s a lot more to business than knowing the right questions to ask potential employees.

Check out our Careers and Jobs Archives for more information about owning and managing a business.

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