QUESTIONS THAT WORK WHEN:
Hiring and Managing
Questions are never indiscreet; answers sometimes are.
Do you know the questions needed to hire someone with the right abilities and attitude? Once I had a choice of hiring one of two people, one thoughtful and quiet, the other outspoken and strident. I picked the fighter and spent days fighting with the employee. I hadn't asked the right questions and didn't know what to look for. I also violated the rule against giving the answers while asking for questions. I'm sure I said, “We're looking for someone who really can go after a story; do you think you can?” What else did I expect when the glibber of the two was better able to enthusiastically and elaborately reply, “Yes!” A subtle, slow probing is needed to discover hidden values of the prospective employee. As an interviewer, you can use questions to search for reactions that reveal subconscious patterns of thought. In the end, you hope to hire a colleague with enough mental horsepower and, more important, the spirit needed for the job.
Why is the interview process often neglected or short-circuited? Look at the math:
These factors add up to an extended question set, but hiring is a total effort that some of the most successful companies make. What organizations seek is meaningful and productive connections between employee and employer. Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest Airlines, says his company has prospered because of the care taken in hiring. “We're religious about it,” said Kelleher. “We do it with a great deal of zeal. We will interview endlessly for a particular person.”1
The hiring is not complete even when the position has been filled. Even the sweetest new employee sours when supervisor and supervisee