The Top 3 Questions You Should Stop Asking in Interviews

Interviews are often an exhausting experience both for the interviewer and the interviewee. Interviewers rarely know what to ask, and frequently end up asking generic, and relatively useless questions. Choosing generic questions makes things easier for hiring managers, but an interview can and should be so much more than that. Here are a few common questions that just need to go, so that you can transform you interview into an experience that helps you align your goals with those of your new hire.


Where do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

This question is a trap. If the interviewee answers that they see themselves working this job diligently they might look complacent to the interviewer. If, on the other hand, they reply that they see themselves in management, or running the place, they might make the interviewer feel threatened. There isn’t a good answer to this question.

Instead, ask: How Will This Job Help You Achieve Your Goals?

This question assumes that the interviewer wants the interviewee to succeed, and that their personal goals matter. It gives the interviewee the freedom to tell the truth, which is often as simple as achieving financial stability, or acquiring new skills. The information you can get here is hugely important, because helping to meet this need can be key to retaining your new hire in the long term.


Why Did You Apply At This Company?

While the economy is recovering, we are not at a point where a job searcher can have their pick of a job at any of a large number of businesses. They applied because they need a job, and because they think they’re qualified. Of course, this question is actually meant to check if the candidate has done their research on the interviewing business.

Interview questions should not be coded in a way that requires people to make an un-intuitive leap to answer the secret hidden question you didn’t bother to ask.

Instead, ask: How Can You Help Our Business Succeed?

This question is always answerable, while also checking to see if the candidate has done their research. The more specific their answer is, the clearer it is that they know what they’re talking about. If they didn’t do their research, they’ll still be able to answer based on their expertise and their limited knowledge of your business without awkwardly breaking down the conversation.


What’s Your Biggest Weakness?

You can get some useful answers from this question, but it’s worded in an awkward manner. It invites interviewees to think of reasons why they shouldn’t be hired. This question is a red flag that indicates that the interviewer could be a poor communicator. Usually the interviewer wants to hear a story of personal and professional growth, so why not just ask for it?

Instead, ask: Please Tell Me About Something That Made You Grow Professionally

Candidates that have made and dealt with major mistakes at work will understand this question and answer it appropriately. Less experienced candidates will still be able to answer it, by answering with something about their education or other background information. They way they answer, as well as the substance, can tell you a lot about your job candidate.

micha boettigerMicha Boettiger is a freelance writer and digital strategist. You can find out more about his work on his website, Writer Worldwide, or by following him on Twitter @writerworldwide.

5 Steps To Understanding Employees Better While Setting Reasonable Expectations

A lot of importance is given by companies to establishing good relationships with customers. Their focus is to attract new customers while retaining old ones. There is nothing wrong with this approach – I believe that a lot of new customers are required to ensure business longevity. I also believe that employee satisfaction is essential to ensure a business succeeds in its entirety.

But how many companies focus on employee satisfaction?

Unfortunately, I have seen a lot of companies relegating zero or minimal importance towards employee satisfaction. They mistakenly assume that giving out salaries on time is enough to keep employees satisfied! They fail to realize that there are a lot of opportunities for employees to become unhappy in the workplace.

The focus of this article is to help you understand employees better. And to use your new-found understanding to set reasonable expectations for each of them.


Step 1: Understand that no employee is the same

Many companies make the grave mistake of underestimating employees. They fail to understand that each employee has unique aspirations that set them apart from others. How do you know what an employee wants? The answer is simple – by having one-on-one conversations.

Have the first round of one-on-one conversations with each employee to understand their career goals and how they find this job.

The Human Resource team should ask each employee the following questions:

i. “Are you satisfied with this job? If not, why?”

ii. “What are your career goals?

iii. “Do you receive enough support from managers and colleagues?”

iv. “What’s the best memory you have working here?”

The answers to these questions will provide you with valuable insights on how to deal with each employee. You will also be able to identify employees who have lost interest working for your company. Work with them to ensure they exit the company honorably.


Step 2: Ensure that the Employee Knows you Care about him/her

The questions asked by you in Step 1 will increase employee expectations. They will expect you to eliminate any discomfort they have at the workplace. So you will have to work hard to match their expectations.

It’s time for the second round of one-on-one conversations with them. This is when you showcase your caring side and willingness to go the extra mile to ensure their needs are taken care of.


Step 3: Set Reasonable Work Expectations

It’s important to provide each employee with clear instructions on what kind of work is expected from him/her each day. These instructions can be shared in a document, allowing the employee to read and understand his role whenever he needs to.

It’s also important to understand the complexity of work that can be undertaken by each employee. To achieve this, you will have to set certain benchmarks that are to be achieved at work. These benchmarks should be neither difficult nor easy to achieve. They should be specific to an employee’s job profile and shouldn’t place any additional burden on him/her.

For example, a writer should be able to write an article of 500 words every day. Similarly, a programmer can be expected to write a certain amount of code every day. Creating benchmarks will help you understand how well the employee is faring. Benchmarks also encourage employees to challenge themselves to achieve more at the workplace.


Step 4: Launch Training Programs to Fill Skill Gaps

Some employees may be less talented than others. And you will notice them performing way below the benchmarks set by you. Conduct regular training programs that can equip them professionally as well as mentally to take on all kinds of challenges at work. It removes any sort of inferiority complex these employees may have, giving them a new dose of self-confidence.


Step 5: Find a Reason to Motivate Employees

Regularly appreciated employees can do wonders for your company. Device employee appreciation tactics such as team competitions or performance rewards to ensure employees feel great working for your company.

The level of appreciation and recognition you provide will determine how long the employee remains loyal to your company. Be generous with positive words and actions to reap immense benefits!

Did you find these steps useful? Deploy them in your working environment to witness the wonders employee satisfaction can do for your company. Share your thoughts on this topic by adding your comments below!


Neerav_PicNeerav Mehta is the Founder and CEO of Red Crackle, a San Francisco Bay Company that provides Drupal solutions for all kinds of technical requirements. Neerav enjoys writing technical and business articles in his free time.

How to Get Startup Employees to Engage Fully

6893267337_512da6998dEntrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges, and the most extreme of those is tackling a large volume of work with only a very limited amount of resources, particularly labor. Startups need people who can work under high pressure for relatively low reward, and getting people to willingly put in the effort your business needs is every entrepreneurs biggest question.

To tackle this problem it’s important to really understand what does and does not motivate your workers. Of course, every individual person is different, but we can generalize based on common startup conflicts.

Understand Why Your Employees are There

Few people willingly take a job with no benefits, limited vacation time, high work load, and low pay over a comfortable job at a more established enterprise. If you’re a startup on a strained budget, your employees are often going to be people who are relatively inexperienced.

Young workers in particular are likely trying to develop the skills and get the experience they need to find more gainful employment. If you want to hold on to your talent, and get them to really apply themselves, you’re going to need to know what they’re looking for in the long term.

Learn How Employees Define Success

Everybody has their own goals, and you can’t motivate an employee if you don’t know what theirs are.

It’s a good idea to ask every employee what their long-term goals are for their work, and to flat out ask how you can help them. A few likely targets might be…

  • Higher Wages
  • Health Insurance
  • Flexible Schedules
  • PTO

If you know how an employee defines success, then you can make sure that your business’ success also translates into theirs.

Tie Their Success To Your Business’

The success of your company isn’t the success of your employees unless you make it. To that end it’s a good idea to develop a plan for how you’re going to translate your business’ growth into tangible benefits for your workers.

This way your workers won’t just be working for your business’ future, they’ll explicitly be working for their own. Set specific goals for production, sales, growth etc… and set down a transparent plan for how their work can directly facilitate their own success.


Startup Marketing on a Budget

It’s a vicious catch-22. Marketing is expensive, but necessary to raise your business’ profile to the point where you can reliably get the leads you need to make enough revenue to afford marketing.

When you’re just starting out, you’ll usually be forced to focus your marketing efforts on one type of internet marketing, before you can afford to branch out.

Where to Start as a B2C Business

As a consumer oriented business, you’ll want to start building connections with your community and your customer base as quickly as possible.

This is perfect for social media. Twitter , Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook allow you to directly interact with your target market, and things like boosted Facebook posts can put your content directly in front of the market that you’re looking for.

Where to Start as a B2B Business

Not all startups are the same, and the rules of where to begin with your marketing campaign vary depending on what your business is about. If you’re a B2B business, social media is a bad place to start, because you’ll need to hunt down your leads individually, which is very time consuming and less efficient than a well-targeted PPC campaign.

Pay-Per-Click is a good place to start for a lot of B2B businesses, but some startups won’t have the budget to set up a robust campaign. So, what can we do?

Getting in contact with businesses isn’t as simple as making friends with them on Facebook. Instead, concentrate on gathering contact information, sending out high quality newsletters, and directly contacting relevant industry professionals.

Micha is a digital strategist and content writer. You can secure his social media and content writing services at his website.



Small Businesses Need Internet Marketers

In the last year plenty of people have asked us how marketing things on the internet could possibly be worth actual real-world money. Then, as we talked, they’d whip out their phone to google for a good lunch place.

The Internet Is The New Primary Marketing Medium 

When’s the last time that you used a phone book to find a local service like an electrician, a landscaper, a lawyer, or an internet service provider? When’s the last time you actually called a number from a billboard?

For me, and most millennials, the answer is somewhere between “I can’t remember” and “not ever”. For Gen X-ers an older it’s become fairly uncommon as well. If you need to buy something in this day and age you’ll pull out your phone and check on the internet before you consider other methods.

It’s silly for any business today not to do everything they can to elevate their presence on the web.

Just Existing Isn’t Enough to Get Noticed

Since most business owners are clever and hardworking people, they do read the tea leaves and get a website and a few social media accounts. Unfortunately, that’s usually not enough, Everyone has a website, and unless people aren’t already looking at yours, it won’t rank much better than your competitors’.

You have to update your site regularly and interact with your community on social media to drive traffic and keep people’s attention. Unfortunately for modern entrepreneurs, this type of marketing is a process and takes a lot more time than the buy-it-and-forget-it ads of the pre-internet era.

Entrepreneurs are Busy People

Most startup business owners put in something between 60 and 80-hour weeks just to make sure their business runs. They don’t have time to sit down every single day to talk to strangers on Twitter and Facebook, catch up on industry news, and write blog updates for their site.

Even for the people who understand the importance of marketing on the internet, and take the time to do so, they often fall into what I call the “sales trap”.

Entrepreneurs Usually Excel at Selling, not Marketing

Internet marketing isn’t really about converting, it’s more about generating leads, and making it easier to generate more leads that you can work on converting later.

The “sales trap” is falling for the overwhelming desire to sell something to everyone you interact with in your marketing efforts.

control1Internet marketing can generate sales directly, but primarily it exists to raise general awareness about you and to make you easier to find through internet searches. That means that most of the people you reach out to won’t become customers. Instead, you’re creating a base of popularity that will encourage potential customers to come to you.

Since this usually means that, in the early stages of your campaign, your marketing efforts won’t bring a significant return in terms of sales, this can feel very frustrating to someone who is used to making things happen rather than helping them grow.

Hire a Pro

Traditional marketing was often actually more expensive than hiring an internet marketer is today. We tend to shy away from paying for internet marketing because it’s in cyberspace, and, on some level, we still don’t think it’s real.

This article is syndicated from, find the original post here.