4 Interview Questions for Discovering Who a Potential Candidate Really Is

Using the A Method to drastically cut down on mis-hires

A few years ago we co-hosted a webinar with Bruce Elder, when he was the Principal at ghSMART & Company. Bruce gave our readers a ton of advice during this time about the costliness of mis-hiring, and how to make better hires going forward.

Have you ever hired an employee that wasn’t the right fit for your company? Of course you have! We all have. 50% of all hiring decisions are mistakes. When it comes to hiring a multiplatform publishing team, that percentage may be even higher.

Bruce recommended using The A Method to hire. It’s a detailed methodology developed by ghSMART & Company that objectively collects data from a potential candidate by using specific, tested criteria to help managers decipher if the person will fit within their organization.

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Most likely this isn’t your first rodeo and you’ve made plenty of hiring mistakes. And you probably also know that the average hiring mistake costs a company up to 15x that person’s salary. Yikes. The hard costs associated with mis-hiring include recruitment, compensation & benefits, training and severance. Other costs, referred to as soft costs, include disruption, management time, damaged customer relationships, missed opportunities and mistakes made by the employee while at the company.

To make matters worse, consider the time you spend in preparing a job description, weeding out the wrong candidates and interviewing those that may fit with your organization. Your time can obviously be spent in a more productive manner, yet it’s important to take these steps while looking for new employees.

In addition to helping you nearly eliminate the possibility of hiring a bad employee, the A Method allows managers to hire for a position that they are unfamiliar with and cannot successfully do on their own.

According to Elder, the objective of the A Method is to “improve your life and enable you to have greater career and financial success by helping you make better hiring decisions.” It focuses on A Players.

Why A Players are necessary

A Players are employees who have at least a 90% chance of succeeding in a role that only the top 10% of possible candidates could accomplish.

As an example, the top 3% of salespeople produce up to 250% more than average salespeople; the top 20% produce 120% more. The individuals in this scenario are A Players, and from the statistics associated with them, who wouldn’t want to have A Players on their team?

Beyond having tremendous capabilities, A Players will take pressure off other employees within an organization. If you’ve hired the wrong employee, you will likely feel unsupported by that person, including many instances of being too busy, stressed or tired due to workload.

An A Player will help you trust your team and feel reliant on his or her job responsibilities within the company.

Four interview questions worth asking to find A Players

Here are four questions that hiring managers need to ask during the interview process. Doing so will help weed out candidates who are wrong for the position.

  • “What are your career goals?” If they clearly don’t align with your company, the candidate is not right for the position.
  • “What are you really good at professionally? Please give me some examples.” This question should be easy for most people to answer. Make sure the qualities mentioned are relevant in your work place.
  • “What are you not good at or not interested in? Please give some examples.” If the candidate has trouble with this question, they may be hiding something – or may genuinely think they don’t have flaws. Decipher if these traits would have a drastically negative impact on your organization before deciding to go further with the candidate.
  • “Who were your last five bosses, how will they rate your performance when we talk with them and why?” Use a scale of 1-10 and take note of what the candidate says. See how these results match with what the previous bosses do say.

Often times, a candidate may be qualified for the job, but their personality may not fit within your company’s culture. This is specifically where your company could suffer in a poor hiring situation.

People are not the same. They gather, perceive and judge data differently. The writings of Swedish psychiatrist Carl Jung have been used to categorize these seemingly random differences into 16 psychological types that can help us understand ourselves and those around us. These types can play a key role in modern team building. That’s why, in addition to your interviews, we suggest using the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) to build better multiplatform publishing teams.

What are your hiring tips? Leave them in the comments.

This article was originally written in 2011 and is updated frequently.


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