Three times in the past month B4Ters asked me, “How do I hire good people?”  Obviously there’s no guarantees, but starting by asking good questions helps. Here’s 6 questions we use in our interviews.

1. What’s the biggest misperception people have of you? 
It’s good to know how self-aware candidates are. This question clarifies just how self-aware the applicant is. For the same reason I sometimes ask; Why wouldn’t I hire you? Leaders and good workers are usually self-aware – they know their strengths and their weaknesses.

2.  How do you relax?
Some people are eager to show us that they will work themselves to the bone, put in overtime, etc. Such commitment is appreciated, but that’s not good for them or the company.

3. If I gave to you $50,000 and told you that you had to use it all up in 24 hours or return it to me, what would you do with it?
I want to find out if they will spend the money all on stuff for themselves, or whether they will use it to bless others. People who are self-centered often are poor at servicing others. Plus, I want to hire generous people.

4.  Who is your favorite person in history or who is alive today that you try to pattern your life after?
I want to learn who they emulate.  I am looking for people who follow godly leaders because such people are usually more trustworthy and easier to motivate.

5. What’s most important to you in your work?
I like this question as it gets to the point of what I want to know beyond skills and experience. What motivates employees is essential to keeping them happy and productive.

6. What are you career goals?  What do you hope to be doing 10 years from now?
Anybody who says, “Working in my business is their life’s ambition,” is either not honest, or a low achiever. I want to know where people are headed so I can help them to get there.

In addition to these questions, some problem solving (math and case studies) I have them do, there’s 2 tests I implement with those applying for key positions.

1. I invite the applicant into a room with many chairs. Soon after he sits down I have another employee come into the room and state, “We need 5 of these chairs in another room.  The employee then picks up 2 chairs, I pick up 2 chairs and then we leave.  We watch to see if the applicant picks up a chair and follows us.  This reveals the servant attitude and work ethic of the applicant.

2. While an applicant is waiting in the lobby, an employee walks through, shuffles some papers letting a $5 bill fall out and then exits the door. What does the applicant do?  Chase after the employee? Turn the money over to the receptionist? Pocket the money? Or leave it lay there?  Each action reveals a bit of the applicant’s character.

Hire character, train skill.  Bud Shutz



PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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