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20 secrets for hiring the best employees

Ask job interviewees these specific questions to reveal their true personality.

By Taf Baig
From the November 2002 edition of Cleanfax magazine.
Many carpet cleaning companies don’t grow their business, because they fear their employees are going to ruin their business.

They’re correct in thinking that bad employees can do that, but incorrect in thinking all employees will.

In-fact, if employees are picked carefully, they can be better then the owner themselves. But finding this employee is not as easy as it seems.

The key is to figure out their personality traits in the interview so you can hire the right employee.

The following questions are great at giving insight into the employee’s behavior before you hire. They probe deeper and deeper into the person’s personality, without letting them know what you’re trying to get out of the interview.

Ask these 20 questions to your prospective employees to gauge their potential.

Getting to know you

1. Tell me about your employment background.

See if they have a tendency to stick around where they work, or jump from job to job.

2. Tell me about your schooling. What was your major in college?

Find out if they’re overqualified or underqualified for the job.

3. How do you feel about cleaning in general?

4. Do you enjoy it?

Make sure they’re happy with the status of being a carpet cleaner or restorer.

5. How long do you plan on staying in this area?

See if they want to stay in your service area for a long time.

6. Are you looking for primary income or secondary income?

Are their expectations in line with what they’ll get paid at your company?

7. How much do you want to make a week?

This will give you an idea of their salary expectations.

Looking back

8. Why did you leave your last job?

Are they going to get along with others? Did they leave their last job disgruntled?

9. What did you like best about your last job?

Probe into their personality to see what interests them. Are these traits also present in a carpet cleaning career?

10. If you could have made any improvements on your last job, what would they have been?

This shows if they can think for themselves.

11. What was your most interesting job or project?

Does this person take initiative or like new projects?

Match game

12. Describe the best person who ever worked for you or with you.

This will tell you what type of people they get along with and help you match the personality of this new person with the personality of other employees with whom they’ll be working.

13. What types of people annoy you the most?

To the interviewee it seems that you just want to know what people they dislike, but the answer to this question actually will describe what personality traits they don’t have.

Seeing into the future

14. What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

See if they’ll be the kind of employee with whom you can build your company.

15. How much do you expect to be earning in five years?

Do they have realistic long-term salary expectations?

16. Which is more important to you: The money or the type of job?

17. What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort?

If an employee is only motivated by money, they may not last that long at your job, as the grass may be greener elsewhere.

18. What do you think it takes to be successful in a company like ours?

19. Do you know what type of job duties you will be responsible for?

Is their answer in line with what the job duties are going to be?

Final thoughts

20. Do you have any closing comments?

If there’s something they think is relevant but you haven’t covered it, they’ll tell you at this point.

By taking a few extra minutes in your interviewing process to ask personality revealing questions, you will save time and money by not hiring employees that were not right for the job to begin with.

Taf Baig is president of Magic Wand Company, a manufacturer and distributor of carpet cleaning tools, equipment and supplies. He is also president of a very successful carpet and furniture cleaning company. He owns patents to several tools and pieces of equipment. To e-mail him, visit www.magicwandco.com.