interview questions

interview questions

Q:  I run a business providing home services to clients who rely on us to show up on time .   We employ several work crews and depend on our office manager to coordinate a complicated work schedule.  Sometimes, the unexpected happens: someone’s car breaks down, someone calls-in sick or can’t come to work. 

The problem is that our manager, instead of dealing with solving the problem, pretty much freaks out.  We’re now looking for a replacement and want to make sure we hire someone who’s temperamentally suited to deal with stress and pressure.  How do we ensure we hire the right person?

A:  I would concentrate on asking the right interview questions.

For example, you might ask:

1)      “This job requires someone who can stay cool under pressure, how do you handle pressure?”  But that’s too easy for a candidate to answer by telling you exactly what you  (obviously) want to hear.

You could also ask:

2)      “Tell me about a time when you had to perform under pressure, how did you handle it?”  This question  is a little better because the candidate has to think of an example from their past.  But it’s still too easy to make something up.

That’s why the best question would be something like this:

3)      “You have a fully scheduled busy day ahead.  You’re preparing your work crews to be deployed and suddenly learn that someone has called in sick.  To make things worse, one of your vehicles also got a flat tire.  What steps would you take to handle the situation so that your team feels supported and your customers get good service?

This question requires the applicant to produce some real life solutions. And gives you a chance to gauge someone’s problem solving skills and their comfort level with the hypothetical situation.  If they seem flustered or indecisive, that might not be a good sign.  If they seem to methodically go over different options, and appear calm and professional that might be your final candidate.

This is an oversimplification but you get the idea.  Avoid asking questions that can be easily maneuvered, instead ask questions that fully represent the position’s challenges and insist on no less than real-life answers.

©Copyright Eva Del Rio

Eva Del Rio is creator of HR Box™ – tools for small businesses and startups. Send questions to


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