Can the Candidate Do the Job? Will the Candidate Do the Job?

When interviewing candidates for an open position your job is to find out not only whether they have the required skills and knowledge but also whether they are motivated to perform at a high level.

Questions about knowledge and skills are relatively straightforward.  You might ask (depending on what you are looking for) questions like these:

  • What has been your experience with developing databases? (Technical position)
  • In your last position, how much of your time did you spend directly working with customers? (Sales/customer service)
  • What types of social media do you currently use and for what purpose? (Marketing/Internet)

Questions about motivation require more thought and in some cases a follow-up:

  • Tell me about a time when you went “above and beyond” to get a job done.  What was exceptional about that?
  • Give me an example of when you identified a small problem that needed to be fixed.  Why would it have become a major issue if not addressed?
  • How do you approach working with someone (customer/colleague) who is difficult to work with?

The first motivational question addresses the issue explicitly.  But the others address more subtle aspects of good performance:  courage to speak up, thinking outside the box, and overcoming obstacles.  The outstanding employee will incorporate these qualities into their work, to the benefit of the company.

So if you want to hire great employees, make sure you find out not only if they can but if they will do the job.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440.

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