11 Questions You Should Be Asking Potential Hires

Here’s how to find the best employees to help build and grow your business


It is hard to find good employees, but things get even harder when you own a small business. The stakes are high, so you need to ensure that each of your new hires is a passionate, engaged and committed team player. Hiring is one of the most important things an entrepreneur will do to grow the company. A great employee versus an okay employee is the difference between success and mediocrity.

BlackEnterprise.com reached out to the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. BE polled members of YEC to find out: What questions should I be asking potential hires? Here are their responses:

1. What scares you?

The difference between a good candidate and someone that will help build your business is that when you are committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. By understanding what they are afraid of you can weed out those who might be afraid of making mistakes on the way to doing what is the impossible.

Ryan Stoner, RyanStoner.com

2. Which leaders do you look up to?

Understanding the leaders, mentors and experts a potential hire follows will help provide insights on what they value in others, as well as their specific interests within your industry. The professionals they look up to could also help highlight how they’d like to progress within their own careers in the future.

Brian HonigmanBrianHonigman.com

3. Tell me about a time you had an angry client and how you resolved it?

The best test of someone’s ability to handle stress is in the middle of a crisis. I always ask potential employees to walk me through a time a client was upset and how they resolved it. Did they come up with one solution or multiple solutions? Were they empathetic? Did they check back later on to make sure everything had been resolved? How potential employees handle stress is a top priority.

Kim KaupeZinePak

4. What do you read?

This is a great question to find out not only how people keep up on the industry that you’re in, but also a bit about who they are as people.

Allie SiartoLoudpixel

5. What was your biggest failure in life, and what did you learn from it?

I focus less on raw intelligence and work to find out what really drives that person. To get there — ask about their biggest failures in life, what they learned and how they ultimately overcame them. Find out what objectives they had early in life and whether or not they had the determination and creativity to outperform their peers regardless of the challenges.

Josh Payne, StackCommerce

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