21 Killer Recruitment Questions

Years ago, before I had some success helping my clients write ‘those weird kinds of’ recruitment ads, Roy H. Williams confirmed what I intuitively suspected: the best ads aren’t about the position but about the person you hope to hire.

Write your ads about your ideal person.

To be specific, you’ll need to ask yourself (and others) some questions to better define that person before you can hope to find them.

And before you can ever expect to ask great questions to the right person across the table from you in an interview, you’re going to have to ask yourself (and your current employees) some questions to help you build the right recruitment message.

Here are fifteen questions you can ask yourself – followed by nine more you should consider asking people in your company – specifically, if possible, those who currently occupy the same position.

Yes, some of them require some speculation. Use your imagination. You get to build your dream person, remember.

14 Questions To Ask Yourself

  1. Describe to me what an ideal day in the life of this job would be.
  2. Tell me about the ideal candidate’s temperament. Why is that important?
  3. What’s in it for her if she says ‘yes’? Why should she leave what she’s doing now?
  4. Are you giving this person more free time or more money than she has now?
  5. Are you giving this person more opportunity or more security than she has now?
  6. What would impress you about the right candidate in an interview? A question she would ask? Some research she would have done?
  7. Does this person need any special skills?
  8. What sort of values does this person hold dear?
  9. What do you suspect your ideal person likes to do in her leisure time?
  10. If you were going to hire from within – who among your current staff is your best model for this position … why?
  11. The person you hire exceeds beyond your wildest dreams … really successful in all the right ways … it’s a year from today and everything is firing for the office due in no small part to what your new hire has done …What has she done? Be specific. Paint that picture of success for me. We just popped the corks on 30 nice bottles of champagne … what just happened?
  12. Realistically, what could the right person doing extremely well earn in the first year … and don’t give me that salary commensurate with experience b.s. or the potential is unlimited b.s. … there is, too, a limit … what is it?
  13. What will be the most frustrating thing about the job?
  14. What is your call to action? What would you like this person to do as a result of being persuaded by the ad?

7 Questions for Current Employees of Your Company:

  1. What did you do before you starting working here?
  2. What’s the best thing about your job?
  3. What’s the worst thing?
  4. What’s a typical day like?
  5. What’s the worst day like?
  6. What other occupations might be good at this?
  7. If you had any advice for someone starting out in this job, what might it be?

Explain to them that their answers are between us … we just want to get a better feel for how to hire someone just like them since their bosses spoke highly of them.

Be prepared.

By doing this sort of prep work, you’re going to get less applicants. I hope you won’t miss sorting through dozens, if not hundreds, of unqualified applicants.

What you’ll see immediately – by having specific answers to these questions – is a smaller number of more qualified prospects for your open positions.

Sheesh! Isn’t this more work for us??


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As CEO and Head Custodian of Miles & Company, Tim Miles helps owner-operated companies do more with less. He's the author of Good Company: Making It, Keeping It & Being It.
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  • http://anotherdaydawns.com Lisa

    Tim, Great post! Insightful and important questions for any small business and, dare I say, large company as well. As a former personnel recruiter, I’d ask similar questions of corporate/department heads to really get a feel for the type of person they wanted in that position within that department. Make them think! :) I also love the 7 questions to ask your current employee because that can help you improve the processes within your company as well as hire the right person for the empty position. Right on target! ~ Lisa

    • http://timmilesandco.com/about Tim

      Thanks for you input, Lisa. Processes really help things along, don’t they? :)

      Also, regarding your latest post, I’m a Pandora junkie and have a dozen different stations to suit my moods. One of my favorite is simply “Film Scores Radio” – it can really take you places without lyrics to distract.

      Have a great day.