As workplace culture becomes increasingly important to employee recruitment and retainment, business owners need to change their hiring methods and focus on hiring for attitude over aptitude. By asking attitude-based interview questions, you can be one step closer to finding the perfect candidate for your open position. This approach can help you evaluate a candidate's emotional intelligence — a character trait that's critically important when it comes time for employees to work together and interact with customers.
In the 2016 ADP Employee Engagement Study, 50 percent of respondents from small and midsized businesses claimed that they felt their companies should hire employees who fit their culture. By asking the right interview questions, you can help determine whether a candidate might be the right fit.
Here are five attitude-based interview questions you may want to ask in your next interview:
1. Could you please tell us about a time things went wrong at work due to an error on your part?
Candidates' responses to this question can indicate whether they are reluctant to be held accountable for their actions. Ideally, they will display a level of self-awareness and be able to identify what they learned from a negative experience.
2. Who has served as your most inspiring role model, and why?
A candidate may identify a historical (or contemporary) figure as a chief source of inspiration or, alternatively, he or she may identify a family member or former boss. Probe deeper into his or her answer to assess the reasoning behind the choice and the ways in which that individual has inspired the candidate in the workplace.
3. Could you please describe a situation in which you had a difficult conversation with your supervisor?
The goal here is to determine (a) how well candidates handle direct criticism and potential conflict and (b) whether the candidates made use of tough feedback and changed the way they approached their responsibilities. If they can't come up with an example, or they somehow suggest that their supervisor was at fault, you'll gain insight into their degree of self-awareness and sense of personal responsibility.
4. Have you ever had a problem with your coworkers and, if so, how did you resolve it?
Being an active team member is more important than ever in the current workplace environment. A candidate's answer to this question will help identify his or her coping skills and willingness to be responsible for an error, as well as his or her ability to resolve team-related issues before they cause a loss of morale and productivity.
5. Could you please describe a situation in which you felt you were in the right, but you were still obliged to follow established workplace policies?
This question aims to uncover an individual's ability to both stand up for his or her beliefs and be mature enough to "play by the rules." Any account of his or her attempts to bypass the rules and get things done "my way" can be a positive or negative response, depending on your workplace culture.
As a best practice, you should also observe how a candidate replies to these questions (either off-the-cuff or after taking a few moments to think about their response). Also, keep in mind that candidates' "word choice can provide good insight into whether they understand how they were feeling, how others felt, what caused a situation, and how this understanding directed them to act," notes Forbes.
Asking the right questions can make all the difference when it comes time to select a new hire with the right attitude to tackle the job at hand.
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