By Wayne John
We’ve all been through the interview process and have been asked about our background, education and experience. The interviewers need to find the connection between a candidate and what they can bring compared to what the company needs. There are many ways to arrive at a mutual decision as to whether a fit exists.
There is a ‘magic’ word that should be asked in all interviews. This word encompasses what one has achieved and can provide a good idea of future success. That word? How.
Asking a potential hire ‘how’ in front of many different questions will provide an astounding amount of insight into a person’s work ethic and drive. Let’s look at some relevant ‘how’ questions:
- HOW did you achieve those numbers? By asking this sales question, one will determine exactly the ways in which success was attained. This will be through hard numbers and statistics to strategies on how customers were approached and the tactics used to get orders, and maintain and grow business (and vendor) relationships.
- HOW were you able to deal with challenging customers? We’ve all had tough customers but asking how they dealt with certain situations can provide an understanding of their approach to frustrating clients. How did they go the extra distance to service them and win them over?
- HOW are you going to be successful in this position? The candidate will relay their past experience in their position; whether sales, management, purchasing, etc. to give the interviewer a bird’s-eye view of what they did, how they did it and the end result.
- HOW did you bring your team together? Since a team will make or break a company, this is a key question for a Management candidate. Determining the lengths a manager will go to in bringing his team together will speak volumes as to how he will gain respect and get his new team to jell.
- HOW do you think that your past experience is a good fit with our company and position? The most critical of the HOW questions. The candidate should be able to provide past successes in similar roles in their career, how they were able to meet and exceed goals, and how all of that would be a perfect fit for the new position.
The HOW questions force the candidate to think quickly about their answers and offer results-oriented answers quickly. All candidates should be prepared for and expect questions into their background and how it all relates to the new company and opportunity.
Not only does the HOW questions offer a true glimpse into someone’s past work history, they also offer a peek into one’s character. By asking the above questions, or a derivative of those, one should be able to discern whether a candidate was either a ‘maintenance man’ or a ‘go-getter’; a ‘milk-run’ salesperson or a ‘fire in the belly, get up at 5am ready to go salesperson’; or a ‘sit in the office’ manager or a true ‘working manager’ with the door always open and always open to new ideas. The list goes on and on.
Sure an interview can be conducted with yes or no questions, but one will never be able to delve deep enough into someone’s psyche without asking HOW they achieved something. (The writer, Wayne John, is CEO of Electrical Career Specialists, Inc. ECS is a specialized staffing and recruiting firm exclusive to the electrical wholesale distribution community. www.ecs.jobs, firstname.lastname@example.org, 888-474-4327).