Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Great interview questions to ask when hiring your first employees

Starting your own business is exciting and also challenging… but you’re finally making your dreams come true of becoming your own boss.

You’ve worked out and tested your business plan. You have investors lined up and you’re ready to go. All you need now is the right staff.

There is always going to be a huge learning curve associated with any type of startup. Ideally, you shouldn’t weather that storm all alone. You should find capable workers who can support your plan. Part of the hiring process will involve interviewing your prospective employees. The following questions could become a good guide for the interview.

How are you with customer service?

The correct answer should be, “Awesome!” But don’t take their word for it. Run a few scenarios by them to see how they would handle a particular situation related to your business. Role playing is an effective way of seeing how this employee might handle a spontaneous situation especially one involving an irate customer.

Describe what it means to be adaptable. 

There’s no escaping that with a startup you’re going to have some days of genuine chaos. How will your new hire handle the pressure? Can they think on their feet? Will they need constant supervision? Ask them to discuss a previous work experience when the unexpected happened and how they adapted to that situation.

What was the last project you worked through successfully?

Hopefully, the candidate you’re interviewing will have had some experience relating to your business. They should be able to talk about a previous work project they either initiated or were put in charge of. What did they learn from that experience? What mistakes did they make?

How would you rate your drive to succeed?

It’s easy to find workers who punch in, do their tasks and punch out. They get the job done but don’t go that extra mile. If you’re excited about starting your business then you want someone who is going to share your enthusiasm.

How do you resolve employee conflicts?

Hiring a staff means you’re hiring multiple personalities. In the best case scenario everyone will work in harmony but we all know that is a lofty goal to achieve. Even if the person you’re interviewing is just for a staff position you still want to get a sense of how they’ll get along with the rest of your team. Communicate your goals and then see if they “get it.”

One of the best indicators of a good employee is through their references. Ask the references similar questions about the candidate. Look for consistencies in the responses. If there is any inconsistency, find out why.


  1. Great suggestions. I particularly like the first and last. Dealing with customers and employees are the two essential traits that you have to make sure are handled well. Here are some more questions you can ask in the interview based on the article I wrote earlier -

  2. This is a great list of questions for job seekers to go off of as well. If they can't answer these questions they need to start coming up with answers now. These would also be great for role playing before an interview.


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