A shop owner from Stouffville, Canada, writes:
"Does anybody have a form or standard list of questions they ask for pre-interviewing an apprentice to find out if they have behavior problems, anger management issues, etc. before even getting to the technical questions? Does the personality fit your shop?"
A forum member responds:
"That's a good question. I have a pre-interview questionnaire, but it doesn't address anger issues or personality issues. It mainly identifies specific characteristics that would tell me whether I think the person would be a good employee or not. Personality is usually assessed after the third or fourth week—anybody can put on a show for awhile."
A second forum member responds:
"There are plenty of personality tests available for free or a small fee and directions to analyze the results. These can be given at some point during the interview process. Also, it's very important to take a hard look and try to identify the 'culture' of your shop. Many owners, including myself have seen their shop through only their eyes. Perhaps exit interviews and discussions with trusted clients can help you determine this culture and look for traits in the next employee that fall in step with that."
A third forum member responds:
"I use this as a resource when developing an interview. [http://www.jobinterviewquestions.org/questions/general-questions.asp] Sometimes I miss the boat when the candidate gives all the right answers, and I realize (too late) I didn't ask the right questions. For instance, 'Do you possess reading comprehension skills?' or 'Do you read at a 6th grade level or above?' Just don't be afraid to cut 'em loose after three weeks if you see bad traits coming out."
A fourth forum member responds:
"This is a great question, since the most important decision you make every day is who you allow in the door to help you run your business. It is a sorry case, but most small business owners have never had any training in how to hire employees. I will give you a couple of suggestions.
"The biggest mistake is not knowing what type of employee you are looking to hire. Are you going to train them, or do you want them already trained? What kind of people do you and the rest of the people in your shop work well with? What kind of attitude do you want the person to have? How smart do they need to be?
"Next, I would interview for tech skills and the ability to just do the job. This is a lot easier than trying to figure out the soft stuff like fit, attitude and personality.
"Build a structure set of questions. Make sure to test for skills, personality and attitude. Remember, a test is just another interview of the applicant. Make sure you check references."
A fifth forum member responds:
"Having the best people on board that you can find will make your job easier, cost you less and make you more money. I wish everyone I talk to in the business was so focused on hiring. A few things come to mind when it comes to your issues:
- Ask very anecdotal questions. Basically, you want to ask them if they've ever been in a certain predicament and then ask them how they dealt with the issue. For example: 'Have you ever had a problem with another salesperson at a past job? If so, how did you handle it?'
- Do some proper reference checking. The candidate will undoubtedly write down some references on his or her resume. While these people can give you a baseline of information, they might not give you the whole story. If they have LinkedIn, take a look at who they have as connections and reach out to them about your candidate.
- There are some amazing psychometric assessments out there with the sole purpose of checking for skill, personality and culture-fit within your company. In essence, it does 90 percent of the work for you."