Tough Interview Questions: What Do You Look for When You Hire Someone?

Job interview

This is an easy question and I think there is a way to give your answer some texture.  

“It starts with having a clear idea of what I’m looking for because I know HR is going to take a previous job description and want to work from that.  I’m going to want to edit it a little bit to call attention to the qualities I’m looking for.  However, the first thing is always going to be that I would need to get clear about what I’m looking for, how I’m going to evaluate for it, and how I want my team to evaluate for.”

“You see, one thing I’ve learned over time that unless I have clarity, my hires are nowhere near as good as they could be.  I need to get clear about what I’m looking for.  Thus, when I’m evaluating someone, #1 is can they do the job?  Can they do what I need them to do? #2 is what are the internals to this person?  Are they inspired or are they just doing your job?  Does it matter to them?  I want to know how that is going to show up for them and how I can support them and not frustrate them.”

“Lastly, and this is a funny one, I want to get a sense of how they are going to interact with the team.  This is not so far as being “a team player” or “fitting in.”  If anything, I like people who are ‘squeaky wheels.’  I like to have a certain amount of divergent ideas and backgrounds to make sure that I’m covering all my bases.  If I hire a homogeneous team, I’m missing something.  I also think of it in terms of the diversity of ideas and experiences that I look for in someone.”

“So, I’m not looking for cookie-cutter beyond simply the skills.  What I’m looking for are people who can think creatively and then test that in a few different ways.”

Do you see how I’m approaching this?  I’m not just simply looking for a square peg for a square hole.  I recognize skills are needed but also the personality stuff that is involved with evaluating for them trying to get this hiring manager who is answering this question to talk about.  Otherwise, they are just feeding me pablum and I don’t want that. I want to get people who have unique qualifications.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1800 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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