My Business Vacancy Interview Questions

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In May 2010 I wrote a blog on My Curriculum Vitae (CV) Assessment Checklist. This blog was inspired on an article by Lee Salz of Sales Architects. I was surprised by the positive reactions, so now I want to share with you some questions you can ask people during a business vacancy interview. This is based on another article by Lee: Top 100 B2B Sales Interview Questions.

I have performed quite a lot of interviews with people wanting to qualify for a business position. I am not sure how much, but I estimate it between 750 and 1,000 interviews. When starting this I asked only questions based on the CV I had received. After some time it became clear to me that such an approach is not necessarily successful. If I were in a position to craft a story, my answers based on questions on that story would be perfect.

So after some 100 interviews I changed my strategy. I started asking questions applicable to everyone, not based on a CV. That strategy had several advantages:

  1. I took much less time to prepare myself, because I already knew what questions to ask.
  2. As other interviewers took another approach I was sure that I was asking questions new to the applicant.
  3. The questions were by nature unexpected to the applicant, so I was sure he was unable to prepare for them, and hence the answers were more 'truthful' than 'normal' responses.

In essence, I asked only 3 questions, and let the interviewee elaborate on them. My questions:

  1. What is your best experience in your business life? Why?
  2. What is your worst experience in your business life? Why?
  3. How did those experiences change your professional life? Why?

Looking at the earlier 100 questions of Lee Salz I recognize his line of reasoning. My choice of the hottest generic questions from Sales Architects, in the original sequence:

  1. Since you have decided to make a job change, what criteria are you using to select your next employer?
  2. What can you tell me about our company?
  3. From reviewing our website, what is one change you would suggest we make to the site and why?
  4. Having learned about our business (pre-interview), what opportunities do you feel we are missing?
  5. What did you do to prepare for this interview today?
  6. Why do you feel you are the best person for this role?
  7. No one is perfect… What is the one thing you are working to improve upon?
  8. If I were to speak with your manager, what would be the one thing that he or she would say is your biggest weakness?
  9. If I were to speak with your manager, what would be the one thing that he or she would say is your biggest strength?
  10. What gets you out of bed and excited to start the day?
  11. Share a goal that you set and how you achieved it. What do you attribute to your success?
  12. Share a goal that you set, but failed to achieve. Why did you fail? What did you learn?
  13. Share a time when your flexibility was challenged. How did you deal with that?
  14. Part of what makes our business successful is being responsive to the market which means constant change. How do you deal with change?
  15. How do you stay organized?
  16. What is it about your background and skills that tell you that this opportunity is a great fit for you?
  17. What is your income goal for this year? What did you earn last year? Goal for next year?
  18. What is it about this opportunity that intrigues you?
  19. If you won the lottery, what would you do?
  20. Describe a time when you had a conflict with a peer. How did you resolve it?
  21. How do you create value with your clients?
  22. How do you stay up to speed on the news and trends in your industry?
  23. What one factor do you attribute to your success?
  24. What would be your plan to learn our industry?
  25. Do you prefer to work alone or with teams? Why?
  26. Who was your best mentor? How did he impact you?
  27. What management style do you thrive under?
  28. What makes you unbeatable? (ask for examples)
  29. What is your Sunday evening routine?
  30. Share a time when you had to break the rules. What was the outcome?
  31. Share a time when your ethics were challenged. What was the outcome?
  32. If we were to extend an offer to you, what would you want to know to make an educated, informed decision?
  33. Describe a time when you took a leadership role (work or outside of work). What did you accomplish? What did you learn from the experience?
  34. How do you define "success?"
  35. What questions do you have of me?

I am sure that if the interviewee can answer all these questions satisfactorily it will be your best employee ever. And if you are recruiting a sales person, be sure to look into all 100 questions Lee Salz drew up.

Did these questions help you to recruit better personnel? Share your experiences with the Results2Match Community.

Do you need help with the implementation of a better recruitment interview questions? Or help with better CV Assessments? Or a Quick Scan of your Development and Performance Management forms and procedures? Contact Hans Lodder now!

Or do you prefer your own employees to execute such assessments or Quick Scans? Let Hans Lodder train and coach them!


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