What You Should and Shouldn’t Ask Job Candidates



Last Updated: Feb 13, 2018
What questions should you ask job applicants? What questions shouldn’t you ask? Here is a quick guide to help you ask the right questions and select the best candidate for the job. 

One of the hidden bear traps in running your own company is the occasional need to hire someone to help. Being your own boss sounds great in infomercials but also it means you’re the one who hires and fires when your business begins to bulge out of your extra bedroom and your garage looks like a warehouse.

Large companies have human resource specialists and lawyers to keep things running within the law; you, on the other hand, have to do it all yourself. You’re the hiring authority, the policymaker and the rule-setter. And it’s unlikely that you have the time or luxury to attend the dozens of seminars held for professional HR types to help them keep abreast of ever-changing regulations.

It’s not uncommon for many small businesses and home offices to initially expand with employees the owner knows through friends or family. Sometimes it works, oftentimes it doesn’t.

When you’re finally ready to start looking for that “real” employee, someone who doesn’t call you Uncle Phil or Aunt Lil, there are some rules of the road to follow. Actually, there are countless rules and regulations companies by law must follow – in fact, it’s likely the complications and frustrations of big business that led you to start your own company and become your own boss in the first place.

This article is aimed at the small business owner who stares at the stack of receivables, orders and message slips and just knows there aren’t enough hours in a day to get the job done. It’s time to get some help.

Hiring a good employee is a matter of finding things out about the person that will help you make the right decision, getting the right fit for your job.

The bottom line to any hire is whether or not the person will make you money or save you money.

And before you ask the first question, don’t be afraid to mentally grade the applicant on his or her appearance, timeliness in arriving for the interview and demeanor toward you and the job you’re offering. Only you can determine if the applicant meets these subjective qualities.

Before you look for employees, you should conduct a detailed job analysis. Save time with our free Job Analysis Form. The reusable template lets you type in your requirements and skills needs and save it. You can get the form free when you subscribe to the free Business Know-How Newsletter

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While it’s important for you to ask the right questions to determine an applicant’s ability to do the job for you, don’t forget that applicants have rights protected by federal and state laws. To be on the safe side of hiring, and protecting your small business from unnecessary headaches and possible litigation, avoid the following topics during your interviews:

To help you determine the objective qualifications of a person, try asking the following questions. They aren’t in any order of importance and feel free to modify them to meet your company’s goals. They are good questions to ask and will help you make an educated hiring decision and gain some insight into the applicant’s past performance and suitability for your company.

Hiring the right applicant for your small company is a big challenge and will test your skills and patience. But once you’ve found and hired the right people, you’ll wonder how you ever functioned without them.

© 2013 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reprinted or reused without permission.

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