Lately I have talked about marketing programs, promotions and to do lists so I thought I would switch to a little human relations; specifically hiring employees. Like you I have the same problem in my bowling centers – finding people who care enough to serve the customer right.
Well, I came a cross one question that makes all the difference in hiring; a question that separates those who want to be accountable for their actions and those who do not.
Here’s the question: “Please tell me the last time you made a mistake and what was the mistake?”
Be prepared for three types of answers and two of them are bad.
Bad answer #1: “Uh, I went for a job interview once and I mistakenly wore two pairs of socks”. OK, a mistake was admitted, but because it had absolutely nothing to do with a work product, you have to figure this joker isn’t taking the question seriously and isn’t owning up to anything he or she did on the job.
Bad answer #2: “Well, I developed this program to promote our products, worked for two weeks on it. and then when it came time to distribute the emails and set up the auto responder, I thought someone else was going to do it, so it didn’t go out. Really wasn’t my fault, so and so just forgot to do it. Boy I could have killed him/her I was so angry.” Well, if you worked so hard on it, why didn’t YOU see to it that the product got over the goal line? At worst, why didn’t you check with that person before leaving for the night. Take some responsibility, dude!!
Good answer #3: “I was backed up on several projects and had lots going on and I missed a step in the distribution channel that caused my company to almost lose a bid for a big dollar sale. The next day I went In and told my boss and volunteered to call the client and explain the situation. Initially he was upset, but realized that Ii was too.’
Now don’t you want to hire someone who takes responsibility seriously, who fesses up when he/she screws up and then offers to make it better?
Yup, that’s who I want.
What’s your favorite interview question?