Small Business Hiring: 5 Interview Questions You Should Be Asking

By Adam Robinson,
April 15, 2013

It takes a certain type of person to work for a small business. They have to be innovative, dedicated and resourceful. On top of that, the team has to jive. Collaboration is key to success, and without a strong company culture, office politics can get in the way.

When interviewing candidates for your small business it’s not enough to measure their skill set, you need to take into account their goals and personality as well. Of course this is much easier when you have someone handling your hiring. But working with recruiters can be costly, and as a small business, those funds aren’t readily available. 

So how are you supposed to be confident in your hiring decision if interviewing isn’t your area of expertise? By taking some time to prepare.

We put together a list of interview questions you feel are imperative to helping you make the hiring decision. This list will help you stay on track during the interview and ensure you don’t forget any key questions you wanted to ask.

Here are five interview questions we find to be most helpful in making the final hiring decision:

1. What is the biggest misperception people have of you?

This will give you a clear idea of whether the candidate values the same things your company does. Ultimately, this question won’t be the deciding in the hiring process, but it will help you eliminate those who wouldn’t be a good fit from the get-go.

2. Where do you see yourself in two years? In twenty?

Not only will this answer help you understand the candidate’s future goals, it will also show you how eager the candidate is to push themselves to further their knowledge.

3. On an airplane or long bus ride, what do you typically do to occupy your time?

The “right” answer to this question depends on which position you are hiring for. If you’re hiring a sales or marketing professional, you want to look for someone who says they chat with the people sitting next to them. This shows they are outgoing and personable. 

On the other hand, if the position doesn’t require strong communications skills, an answer along the lines of I read or listen to music is perfectly acceptable.

4. Describe a time when you had to be an expert.

This answer will help you understand how the candidate builds trust and works with a team to achieve a common goal. 

5. Tell me about your high school experience. 

This may sound strange, but asking about high school can teach you a lot about a candidate, regardless of experience. It puts the candidate in a “storytelling” mindset and allows them to talk about early experiences that may have shaped their career interests. Their answer will also shed some insight on their personality and how they look back on past experiences – both positive and negative.

Next time you’re hiring, try adding these questions to your interviewing “script.” You may just be surprised as to the answers you hear.

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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