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What questions do you ask at a job interview?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Az Gardener, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    For those of you who are more selective in your hiring process what questions do you ask? Better put, what questions do you find are the most helpful in your decision making process?
     
  2. mojob

    mojob LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 515

    Open-ended questions are always good. Questions that require more than just a yes or no answer. Gives them a chance to trip up or look really good and hard to fake. "What would most of your past employers say about you that they liked?" "About what they didn't like?" What they like to do in their spare time. How do you get to know anyone? Just talk to them, right?
     
  3. ECS

    ECS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,729

    You will know withing the first 5 minutes if you will hire them or not.
     
  4. palawnman

    palawnman LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 159

    I agree, yes or no questions are just a waste of time. I dont necessarily just look for certain answers either, I try to judge the confidence in which they answer. Do they have to think too long to answer some questions? If they think too long, then it makes me think they are making it up in their head and try to tell me what I want to hear.

    Ron
     
  5. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,084

    Some of the questions I ask are down right to the point.
    Aside from the standard referral questions, I ask what they liked and did not like about their previous employer. Then I make them edify those comments further in order to check for continuity in their responses.
    Employer referrals are mandatory and I WILL check.
    I ask about their physical conditioning and ability to work in 100*+heat, I specifically ask about their prior medical record and if I get any waffling here than it is an immediate halt to the interview and they are shown the door.
    Since approximately one-half of my crew(s) are mexican I ask about their feelings towards mexicans and their spanish speaking abilities.
    I demand a true copy of their drivers record at the time of the interview, if they don't have one than the interview goes no further.
    Prior to the interview I also get a criminal background on each applicant - same rules here - any problems than forget it.
    Provided they get past the initial interview than they immediately submit to a multi-spectrum urinalysis, if they pass that than the 90 probationary period starts.
    My starting pay for qualified people is about what concrete truck drivers start at in my area so when I do post ads for applicants I usually receive 30-50 calls a day.
    I also refuse to enter into an in-depth discussion on the telephone prior to receiving a valid address to mail the application too. No address, no application.
    Once the paperwork has been submitted to the office, out of those 30-50 about 80% immediately fail and their application is retained for one calendar year.
    Of the 20% that pass and actually show up for the interview, about 1.5-3% pass that. So far in 2007, NO ONE has passed the urinalysis.
    I think the labor pool in my area is like the gene pool, real shallow and these people were definitely bumping their heads on the bottom.
     
  6. T.E.

    T.E. LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 799

    I feel your pain. On the other hand you might have to look outside your state if you are going to have to have some more help this year. :D
    Later, Tony
     
  7. salandscape

    salandscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 168

    I pay better than most guys in my area and this winter I got 10 responses for a foreman position, 6 won't return the call when I call them,( I get the resumes oline, I got most while on the computer and called immediatelty!) Trying to figure out you bother sending a resume to a job you won't even return a call on! 4 I set up for interviews 2 canceled minutes before they should be here. 2 I interview, one I want but has such a bad driving record I can't hire him. The other I offer the job because he can do it, hopefully, and he's the end of my pool, and he doesn't respond to the offer even though he was very interested after the intial interview!

    I have had very high turnover. I keep thinking it must be me, but when I look at my track record no one has ever quit me. Most don't show up on their first day!

    Anyway way off topic, my questions involve things like will you show up? Can you give me your professional references, most will give a personal in there, don't care if your buddies think your great!

    I have nothing constructive to add to this Sorry!
     
  8. Littleriver1

    Littleriver1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 811

    One of the questions I was asked once was. What is a good reason for not reporting to work when you are scheduled. There is only one correct answer and any wrong answer would be a reason not to hire. The main thing to remember is to have more than one interview. One of the things I used to do was tell the ones I wanted to hire the most that I had lost their application and ask them to fill out another one. If they did not match then I would not hire them. With the app. completed and in your hand and the person siting next to you, look at every answer and ask a question in such a way that they have to repeat what they wrote on the app without seeing it. Even if it only has to do with spelling or math. Such as how may months was it between your last 2 jobs. People that lie skip work, steal and try to get good people fired so you will need them more than they need you. The wrong employee gets hired thousands of times a day in this country. With the unemployment rate at 4.5% it's going to be tuff this year. Bush did it to us again. Who ever thought prosperty could be so painfull?
     
  9. PatriotLandscape

    PatriotLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    from MA
    Posts: 1,209

    Question 1: Do you have a valid drivers license

    Question 2: Do you need to blow into a breathalyser to start your vehicle

    Believe it or not I used to only ask question one. I had what I thought was a good guy wait until the end of his first week when I asked him to take a truck somewhere and THEN he told me. He was caught with a DUI and under Melanie's law could only drive his vehicle to work and home and needed to blow in to his car to get it to start!!! :D he didn't work another day :D
     
  10. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Some of mine that I get the most insight from are.

    What is your biggest fault? What will I learn about you after you have been working for me for a month that I don't know now? Just spill it, you know I will find out anyway.

    What other business interests do you have? Day trading, selling drugs, flipping houses, pimping ?

    What other jobs have you applied for? Is there a dream job out there that you have applied for?

    Why do you want to work here?

    I had 6 interviews set up for today 2 were no shows and one canceled. 3 OK candidates. Two more set for tomorrow, 5 pending and 6 more resumes I hope I don't have to call for interviews.

    BTW gay employee from prior thread lasted a week. He was very slow but did follow directions and used common sense. He probably would have developed into a good employee if given enough time. He quit for computer job that paid better.

    I'm getting much better response from Jobbing.com add than Craig's list and other free methods.
     

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