Good Interview Questions for Small Business Owners

Before you start recruiting prepare a list of good interview questions that you will ask every candidate. This will make it much easier to compare them.

The people you surround yourself with will determine your success.

The more prepared you are before you actually start interviewing the better the outcome will be.

It also really helps if you prepare an organization chart of your business first so you know exactly what roles need to be filled (do this even if you are currently the only person in the business).

Then have a clear picture of the skills and qualities you want to recruit into each role - describe them in detail and even write a list of the ideal features your new team member should have.

Top 5 insightful interview questions:

Start interviews by asking candidates about their backgrounds and what they think they can bring to your business.

Then consider these good interview questions for a bit more insight in to what makes them tick:

1. Describe a work situation where you were at your happiest

Nobody is going to admit being a poor team player in an interview but this question will reveal whether they prefer to work independently, in a team or as a manager. Notice what role they have in the scenario they describe.

2. Why are you choosing to do what you’re doing?

This question gives you an insight in to whether a candidate is at ‘cause or effect’ ie. Do they make their life happen or are they a victim to it? Small businesses want to recruit people who take responsibility and are proactive rather than people who make excuses. Notice whether they talk about opportunities and possibilities or obligation and duty?

3. What do you want in a job?

Again, listen out for whether they’re using positive or negative language ie are they telling you what they want or what they want to avoid? People who are positively motivated towards goals tend to produce more consistent results. For example, someone motivated by achievement will be more consistent than someone who is motivated by not wanting to get fired!

4. What is the relationship between what you’re doing this year in your career and last year?

The responses you get to this will vary in terms of whether they highlight things that are the same or different. People who only talk about the differences between this year and last year are likely to be more creative but probably won’t stay in the job so long. Conversely those who talk about everything that’s the same will be less innovative – they won’t see the point in changing things unless they’re broken. A mixture is probably ideal.

5. What was your biggest mistake and how did you handle it?

You don't want people on your team who points fingers at other people when something goes wrong. If they can't take personal responsibility it will undermine your team.

So, this is one of those good interview questions that can be very revealing. What you really want to hear is someone being honest about their mistakes but also sharing what they learned from the experience.

Business Coaching Questions:

  • What are the skill gaps in your business?
  • What kind of personality would best suit the roles you are recruiting for? eg. task or people focused?
  • What qualities do you expect in employees? Eg. timeliness, reliability, accuracy, friendly nature etc

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