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Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.
Aug
02

The BEST Question You Can Ask a Candidate

By

interview with clip boardDo you know the best question you can ask a candidate? I know. You have your favorite questions. And, this month, I’m going to focus on the selection process. Why? Because we managers have the least training in it, yet more hinges on our skill in this process than any other–maybe except lead generating for recruiting.

What’s your favorite interview question? In the next few blogs, we’ll discuss types of interview questions. Some are great, some are okay–but some are misleading or worthless.

The Category of Question You Should Always Include

Are your favorite questions present or future-based? If so, beware. You’re being misled. I’ll explain more in a future blog. But, for now, I just want to focus on the category of question that assures you get the truth about the candidate: the past-based question.   That question begins with “In the past, was there a time when you…………………” Why is that type of question so powerful? Because candidates seldom lie about their past when they are posed a question like that. Also, even though this is the best type of question you can ask, few managers are trained to ask a majority of this type of question. In a later blog, I’ll show you more about creating this type of question to find out the quality you’re looking for.

The Question You Want to Ask

Here it is: “When did you get your first job?”

Why is that so powerful? Because it demonstrates the qualities you’re looking for. According to my surveys of thousands of real estate pros, the vast majority of successful real estate pros started working as kids! This shows their ingenuity, belief in themselves, and determination that they alone are in charge of their destinies. Imagine some of the answers you’ll get, and what those answers will tell you:

“I got my first job at age thirteen.”

or

“I just started looking for a job. I’ve been living with my parents. They support me, and I really want to find the right job for me (I’m 27 years old).

What do these answers tell me about the candidate’s likely success in a business that requires self-confidence, ingenuity, tenacity, and ability to do it themselves?

Keep Probing about that Answer

One of the big mistakes we interviewers make is that we jump from question to question before we find out what’s really going on. So, don’t do that! Stay on that same question/answer and probe. Imagine some of the probing questions you can ask about that first answer: “How did you happen to get the job?” “Why did you want a job?” How long did you keep the job?” What did having a job at age 13 teach you?” What will the answers tell you?

Sometimes Our First Job Tells us what We DON”T Want to Do the Rest of our Lives

The reason that I wrote this blog is that I just read an article about Fred Hassan, CEO of Warbug Pincus, a private-equity firm. He said his first job was a produce picker and cannery worker. He said he learned about getting up early and working hard. And, he said it convinced him that he was very lucky to get to go to college and escape manual labor. I had a similar experience. As a 6th grader, I started picking strawberries and beans in our little town of Lebanon, Oregon. It was back-breaking, hard, sweaty work, and I vowed I’d use my brains and my talent to make a living–instead of doing manual labor!

Let me know the answers and insights you get from asking the question, “When did you get your first job?” (Remember to stay on that question and probe, probe, probe!)

eBook Cover(2)Is Your Selection Process really Professional?

Quick. Write down the 9 steps you take through your selection process. Difficult, isn’t it? Most interviewers just wing it, spending most of their time selling the company. Wrong! Find out the 9 steps Carla shows you that keep you in control of the interview–and help you stand out as the exceptional manager that desired candidate wants to work with.

Your  Blueprint for Selecting Winners is only $79,95, and it’s immediately downloadable. This resource will save you thousands of dollars of hiring mistakes!

Click here for a detailed description.

 

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