April 23, 2016 By Suzanne Robertson

SmartBiz recently polled our customers and asked what is keeping them up at night. The #1 answer from small business owners was employee retention.

The first step to retaining valuable members of your team is to make smart hiring decisions. It’s important to bring on an employee who will support the growth of your small business and fit in with the culture you’ve worked hard to establish. Put on your HR director hat and review some important questions you should ask during job interviews that can help you determine the strongest candidates.

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Tell me about a challenge you’ve faced at work and how you overcame it.

This question reveals how fast the job seeker can think on their feet and will highlight problem-solving skills they’ve used successfully in the past. You’ll also get a peek into their job history, opening the door for more detailed questions.

What would be your strategy for working with an unhappy customer?

Small businesses have the unique ability to connect closely with their customers. Poor word-of-mouth can really affect the bottom line. This question will not only determine how well the candidate can navigate an uncomfortable encounter but will let them know how vital problem solving and customer relations are to your business.

Where would you like to be in 3 years?

It takes time, money and resources to hire and train a new employee. Unless you’re hiring for a seasonal position, you want them to stick around and become a valuable member of your team. This question is a great way to find out if the candidate wants to be traveling around Europe next year instead of helping you grow your business. It’s also an interesting way to discover if the candidate thinks strategically about their own future.

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Why should we hire you over the other applicants?

This is where your candidate has an opportunity to shine. You might discover additional talents and strengths that weren’t revealed on the resume.

What would your previous employers say about you?

Although you’ll probably check references, this is another great way to learn about the strengths of your candidate.

When have you failed? Describe what happened and what you learned from it.

How honest and transparent is the candidate? You’ll get a good idea by asking this question. You’ll get a real feel for their personality when challenged.

Is there any question I haven't asked you that I should?

This gives the candidate an opportunity to bring up other qualifications they feel would be relevant to the job.

Be sure you’re bringing in the right candidates. The SBA has some good guidelines for writing an effective job description.

Do you have 5 minutes? Find out if you’re qualified for a low-interest SmartBiz loan in just 5 minutes here.

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