I was reading an interesting Baltimore Sun newspaper article (yes they occasionally write interesting articles) about “quirky questions” asked on job interviews. The article got this Maryland lawyer thinking about what are some good job interview questions and what are some no-no’s.

Maryland Small Business job interview questions: Do’s

During a job interview, every interviewer is trying to determine whether the person who is being interviewed is a good candidate for a particular job.  It’s not an easy task, particularly if you are a Maryland Small Business, when most of your time is devoted to running your business; you don’t have a 400 person Human Resources department to help guide you through the hiring process.  Here are some simple tips to help:

  1. In the beginning, ask questions to get the interviewee comfortable.  Remember that this process can be nerve-racking for the interviewee and the most honest and best answers will come once they are relaxed – Tell me a little about yourself? Tell me about your work history? Tell me something you’re proud of?
  2. Ask open-ended questions – this is not a cross-examination.  Getting the interviewee talking will get more free-flowing answers.
  3. As you get into the interview you can begin asking more probing questions and begin asking psychological interview questions.  Psychological interview questions are ones where the answer itself doesn’t matter, it is the observation of the interviewee and their behavior that matters.

Most importantly, make the interview a positive, welcoming, and professional environment where you can make a determination if the person is a good fit.

Maryland Small Business: the Psychological Interview

Understand this is not an exact science and every interview is different. Here are some sample questions of a psychological interview.  Again there is no right answer, but how the person reacts that is important:

  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • You find $20 dollars on the floor of the office, what do you do?
  • If you were a color, what color would you be and why?
  • What is success to you?
  • What is your management style?
  • Name one failure that you had to learn from?

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    Remember, it’s not an interrogation!

  • Name one confrontation you had and how you handled the situation?
  • A co-worker admits to taking office supplies, what do you do?
  • You get home from a shopping trip and discover that there is an extra item in your shopping bag that you failed to pay for, what do you do?

For all of these questions, the answer is quite irrelevant, but rather you’re seeking how the interviewee responds.  Are they too earnest?  Are they trying to please you?  Are they openly dishonest and disinterested?  The interviewer is seeking information to allow them a deeper picture into the interviewee’s psyche.  It is an art.

Maryland Small Business job interview questions: Do Not’s

This goes back to the Baltimore Sun article.  I’ve also put down some others for good measure that could get any Maryland Small Business owner in deep trouble.  Don’t do it!

  • What type of cereal do you like?  Unless you’re running Kellogs, this is a complete waste.
  • Nice skirt honey, I hope you wear it around the office too.  Not a question and it will get you sued.
  • You have a funny accent, are you from around here?  See above.
  • Do you have kids?  Don’t ask any questions about things that aren’t related to the interview subject.  If the interviewee brings it up, it’s OK, but generally subjects like kids, family, etc., have no place in a job interview – and could get you sued.

Maryland Small Business job interview questions: The bottom line

Keep it short, sweet and to the point.  If you have any questions about employment issues, remember the Law Offices of Eldridge and Nachtman provides guidance to Maryland Small Business with their general employment questions as well as providing general small business support.  Give us a call, before you decide to ask one question too many!