Going through a job interview can be a stressful process – for the interviewee, and believe it or not, for the interviewer. Hiring an employee is serious stuff and you want to do everything you can to make sure you’re getting the right person for the job.
I’ve conducted dozens, maybe even hundreds of interviews over the last 15 years. Between my various businesses I’ve interviewed people for admin jobs, finance, production, media, and of course, construction. You can look online and find all sorts of common interview questions to ask, but unless you know why you’re asking the questions, the answers will be irrelevant. Based on my own experience, here are a few things I suggest you focus on during an interview, and the reasons I think they’re important.
Work environment plays a huge role in job satisfaction. During any interview I always try to find out what types of environments the candidate has previously worked in, as well as what type they prefer. The answer to this question can tell you a lot about their personality – introvert, extrovert, how well they work with others, and how well they will or won’t thrive in your business.
During the course of any interview I like to ask prospective employees what they know about my company, and based on what they know, what they would do differently if they worked for me. This seems like a hard question because no one wants to offend the person who’s interviewing him or her, but as far as I’m concerned, if you can’t bring any ideas for improvement to the table, why would I want to hire you?
I’m a goal-oriented person and I like to know what kinds of goals my employees have. I know it’s a cliché, but I often ask the old “where do you want to be in 5 years” question. The reason is because 1) I like ambitious people who know what they want, and 2) it helps me to understand what they want from this job and from my company. If their goal isn’t something I can see myself helping them achieve, I really have to think about whether or not it’s the right fit. Someone who isn’t going to get what they want out of a job isn’t going to stick around for too long.
Technical skills and education are important, no doubt about it, but for me, personality and disposition trump both of these things. That’s not to say you should hire someone who’s terrible at their job just because they’re a nice person, but it does mean that they must fit in to your company culture. I work with small teams across my various businesses and I cannot tell you how important it is that everyone gets along. They don’t all need to be best friends, but they need to share certain traits and complement each other’s skills and abilities. I truly believe that it’s easier to find a good person with the right personal traits and train them, than someone who has all the right qualifications but lacks the personal abilities to succeed in the environment.
For hiring people in the renovation and construction space I use WRKS, the construction hiring network. Their Smart Matching Engine™ matches employers and employees based on specific criteria, so by the time someone is sitting in front of me for an interview I already know that they’ve got the qualities I need. From there, it’s all about how we connect. My advice is to be confident, but don’t try to intimidate. Be the same as you are every day with your employees. You’ll know pretty quickly if your personalities jive or not.