Small businesses might not have hiring managers on staff to handle all details of a job search. If you need to fill an entry-level position, you may need to conduct the job interviews yourself. Whether you are talking with a college graduate, a high school student or even a seasoned employee seeking a change, there are certain skills you should explore with each applicant. Review this article for a list of entry level interview questions to help you find the best candidate.
Communication Skills – Determine how they present themselves and their professional goals.
1. Tell me about yourself in a few sentences.
2. Explain to your 80-year-old grandmother what you do for a living.
3. How would a coworker or professor describe you?
4. Do you prefer written or verbal communication?
Time Management – Explore how they met deadlines in a previous job or during school.
5. Do you multitask successfully?
6. How do you plan your work and keep track of projects?
7. If you have multiple deadlines, how do you prioritize?
8. If you can’t meet a deadline, what do you do?
Problem Solving – Does the candidate have the ability to recognize a problem and resolve it appropriately?
9. Give me an example of how you solved a problem in the workplace.
10. Describe a time when you couldn’t solve a problem and how did you resolve the situation?
11. Do you ask for help when working on a problem?
Flexibility – Things change quickly in a professional setting. How well will the candidate adapt to change?
12. Give an example of a time when you were interrupted and did not make a deadline. How did you respond?
13. If you had two projects to work on at the same time, how did you prioritize?
14. How important is flexibility to you?
Enthusiasm – Will the job seeker be a positive force in the office and stay motivated?
15. How do you stay self-motivated when you experience a setback or disappointment at work?
16. What goals have you set for yourself both professionally and personally?
17. What motivates you to do a good job?
Strategic Planning – A strategic planner makes good day-to-day decisions and is able to evaluate progress and change approaches to reach a goal.
18. Give me an example of when you thought outside of the box. How did it help your employer?
19. Tell me how you organize, plan, and prioritize your work.
20. What does strategic planning mean to you?
Conflict Resolution – How will your team member deal with internal or customer service conflict?
21. How do you deal with differences of opinion in the office?
22. If a co-worker is upset, how do you calm them down professionally?
23. Give me an example of a time when you diffused a conflict between two colleagues.
Stress Management – Does the candidate have tools to handle and reduce personal stress?
24. What are your techniques for handling stress in the workplace?
25. What work situations stress you out the most?
26. Tell me about your most stressful work situation and how you handled it.
Decision Making – Can the interviewee make decisions about regular tasks or unexpected situations on a daily basis?
27. Do you make decisions better alone or with a group?
28. Describe the process you follow when you have to make a decision.
29. What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever made?
Cultural fit – Will the job seeker fit in with your environment?
30. Describe the type of work environment in which you are most productive.
31. What would make you quit a job in the first month?
32. If a company policy just isn’t working, what would you do about it?
Hiring Best Practices
Take these steps before you welcome a new employee to your team.
Keep it Legal
Be aware of questions you’re not allowed to ask in a job interview. You might think you’re casually chatting but asking about children, marital status or home location are all big no-nos. For a full list of questions deemed illegal by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, visit their FAQ page here.
Ensure a Speedy Hiring Process
Speed counts when it comes to hiring talent for your small business. A position that’s open for a long time can affect your bottom line and stress out your current staff. Additionally, long response times can turn off a candidate that might be a perfect fit.
Always Check References
Checking professional references helps you verify information provided by the candidate regarding skills, performance, knowledge, and work history. It’s a big red flag if there’s a discrepancy. If you want to offer the job, give the candidate the opportunity to explain anything that’s off.
Get a 2nd Opinion
Have another member of your team conduct a follow-up interview if you’re interested in the candidate. You’ll get a second opinion from someone who will be in the trenches with your new hire.
Create an Effective Onboarding Process
Once you’ve hired a candidate, have a plan for their first day, first week, first month. Set targets, reward achievement, and have training options - like books, podcasts, online courses or outside classes – available if needed.