When hiring a new employee for your business, a certain amount of risk is inevitable. It is impossible to know for sure whether the new person is going to work out until you actually see him in action. Even so, you can mitigate risk by getting answers to some key questions about your applicants before offering them a position.
Here are some questions you can't afford not to ask:
Is the candidate qualified to do the job?
Most importantly, the candidate has to be qualified to do the job. Does he have the right experience? Does he meet the educational requirements for the position? Does he possess the proper certifications? Is he the right fit for your particular business? These are all crucial questions that need to be answered during the application and interview process.
Job applicants tend to understate the importance of meeting each job requirement, while employers tend to overstate the requirements that are actually necessary to get the job done. Reality lies somewhere between the two. For example, it would be great if the person working your cash register had a college education. But by making that a requirement, you may pass over candidates with extensive cash register experience.
Start by making sure the candidates meet the minimum requirements for the position. You can narrow the list down further throughout the interview process, giving you the ability to consider a frontrunner candidate who falls short on a minor requirement.
What is the candidate's job history? Why did she leave her last job?
In addition to reviewing a candidate's qualifications for the job, you also need to learn about her job history. A candidate might be the most qualified person in the world, but if she has a troubled employment history, then she's probably not the right person for your company.
Ask the candidate why she left or is leaving her last job. How long has she been unemployed? If she has been unemployed for three years, then you're probably missing something. Many employers ask for references but never check them out. Don't make that mistake! Call the references including at least one former employer.
What is the candidate's availability?
When do you need the candidate to start working for your company? If you need the person to be on the job in a week but he won't be available to start work for a month, then you've got a problem. It's better to have this information before you make the job offer so you can avoid an unpleasant situation later.
What are the candidate's career goals?
Finally, you need to learn about the candidate's career goals. You are looking for an employee who is interested in making a commitment to your company. If the candidate's goals conflict with your goals, then keep looking. There is a qualified candidate with compatible goals out there somewhere.