Hiring Wisdom: Hard Questions Make For Better Hires

Although impolite, rude, and bullying social media behavior grab the headlines, ours is still a basically polite society. That’s why most of us rely on our pre-employment paperwork to ask job applicants the tough questions about drugs and honesty. Then we compound that mistake by thinking we’ll find out about dependability and safety when we do our reference checks. (If we, in fact, take the time to do them at all.)

However, it’s by far harder to lie or deceive in person than on paper. So, if you really want to make the best possible hiring decisions, brace yourself and ask during the interview:

  • What drugs have you used other than marijuana?
  • What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever taken from work?
  • Other than personal illness, what would be a reason you couldn’t be at work every day?
  • Tell me about your workplace safety record.

I’ve also found that the applicants who ask me the hardest questions turn out to be the best employees because we’ve both dug deep enough to get the most important information and come to a mutually good decision. These questions include:

  • Why did the person who last held this job leave?
  • What’s your overall rate of employee turnover?
  • Tell me about the management style and personality of the person I’ll be working for.
  • Will I have any responsibilities you haven’t yet told me about?