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12 Questions To Ask Before Making A Job Offer

Yahoo ran a story from Business Insider a few days ago about the 12 Questions You Should Always Ask Yourself Before Accepting A New Job and it struck me that there are some basic questions employers should also ask … questions that closely mirror the Yahoo article.

From the frying pan into the fireThe article began with outlining the desperation that many job seekers feel to accept any job that comes their way because “the bills are piling up” or “anything is better than working at this place.” In that same vein, sometimes employers feel they just need a warm body to fill a role or position until the right person comes along which they plan to find “later.”

Hiring managers may try to be coy in the interview, but are constantly worried about the availability of talent in the workplace and while it can be tempting to hire anyone that can fog a mirror, there are some REAL steps organizations need to take to insure they aren’t jumping out of the proverbial frying pan into the proverbial fire.

When we rush in to hire people and close a job opening, it’s important to remember that we’re automatically precluding anyone that may have been a better fit. Don’t get paralyzed by analysis but don’t rush to hire either!

12 questions to ask before you make a job offer:

1. Does this employee’s values align with our company’s?

A mismatch here portends a large amount of grief down the road. The easiest way to know if there is alignment is to assess the employee’s motivators. An employee motivated to alleviate social ills and correct them probably isn’t going to do well in the collections department. Conversely, an employee who values a return on investment may not perform at her best in a non-profit hospice environment. Make sure you actually use a validated assessment tool otherwise you’re taking a shot in the dark!

2. Will this employee fit our company culture?

Listen carefully to the candidate. Does she mention anything about having her weekends free — and you know that the position requires weekend work twice each month? Has he/she jumped from company to company the past few years and these are companies you know are similar to your own? Does he/she talk glowingly about a former employer with a very flat supervisory structure — and you know that you have a very hierarchical culture? We can’t overstate the importance of cultural fit so ask lots of (legal) questions to draw the candidate out. People CAN adapt, but they can’t adapt a lot for a long period of time and avoid burnout.

3. What do the references say?

Due to legal considerations, many HR departments now forbid anyone from giving out information about former employees beyond dates of employment so you may have to utilize other methods to get good information. “Should a position come open at your company that was a good fit for this candidate, would you consider hiring him?” is a good question. Another alternative is to use LinkedIn to find colleagues of the job candidate and ask their opinion of his/her work and work habits.

No matter what, always call those references. And if the candidate gives you three that won’t answer, ask for three more.

4. Will this position make use of the candidate’s strongest talents for a majority of the day?

It does you no good to hire someone with strong negotiating skills if negotiating only makes up 5% of each workday. Make sure you use a validated Core-Skills Inventory to see which talents each job candidate has and then decide if her strengths are what you need.

5. Will this candidate help the company reach its long-term goals?

All company and organizational goals are achieve by people. If we rush to hire the first warm body that crosses the threshold, what are the chances we will achieve our goals and objectives? What are our chances if we hire the right people instead? Hitting long term goals means the candidate will be at your company a long time so ask yourself if your company will have the right opportunities for this candidate all throughout his/her career?

6. What level of autonomy will this candidate want/need?

Assessing each candidate’s need for autonomy against the backdrop of how much autonomy a position grants is imperative to getting the right person in the right spot. A candidate who shows signs of needing lots of manager input won’t do well in a position where he/she has to make their own decisions on the fly.

7. Do the people interviewing this candidate like him/her?

This is quite subjective but it bears consideration. If you have three different people interviewing a candidate and not one of them likes him/her … that’s a good sign that office drama or discontent could be around the corner. Make sure you ask lots of questions of the interviewers to nail down the specifics.

8. Is the candidate a good fit for the job environment?

What physical activity is required? Is there a lot of noise? Does the position require detailed hands-on work? Can the candidate stand on the factory floor as long as necessary?

What mental activity is required? Does the candidate have it together between the ears? Does he/she listen? Take notes? Ask pertinent questions to better understand?

9. What is the candidate’s emotional quotient?

At Corter Consulting, we measure 5 areas of emotional intelligence to give us an emotional “quotient.”

  • Self-awareness: the recognition of our own emotions and responses and see how our own emotions may affect others
  • Self-regulation: the ability to control our emotions and impulses — to think before acting
  • Internal motivation: going well beyond money or status, how goal-driven is this candidate?
  • Empathy: the ability to understand the emotional makeup of those around us
  • Social skills: the ability to productive relationships with others

Is the reporting iron-clad? Since we can only report on tendencies that are revealed, to get the MOST accurate report, a candidate would need to be debriefed by a professional who understood the report and knew what questions to ask to draw out the candidate.

10. How long will this candidate have to commute?

How long a person has to commute to work has a direct impact on their happiness with their job. Use their address on the application to calculate their commute each day using mapping software on the Internet. If there is a commute longer than 45 minutes each way, address it. Realize too that commutes longer than an hour regularly result in burn-out and Swedish researchers found that a commute in excess of 45 minutes resulted in a 40% greater chance of divorce.

11. Were there any issues with former employers?

Although people CAN change, if there were issues with former employers, there is a pretty good chance those same issues will follow this job candidate to your organization. Don’t eliminate a candidate out of hand because there were issues with other personnel, bosses, or policies, but DO get everything out on the table so you can make the best decision possible.

12. What does your certified assessment professional say about the candidate?

Too many people believe they can “trust their gut” and they’re right about 20% of the time. By bringing in a third party, you’ll take the emotion out of your hiring process and you’ll be a lot less likely to hiring a mirror fogger. By utilizing a certified professional, you will:

  • Lower your turnover for that position
  • Hiring the BEST person for the job
  • Know that you didn’t rush to judgement in your hiring

Job seekers have multiple sites and articles dedicated to helping them understand you and the interviewing process. Let’s make sure the playing field is level and that we’re hiring the best people to help our companies achieve positions of market leadership.

It all begins with who we hire.

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Certified as a Professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top management talent, create genuine Job Matching System solutions, and implement succession planning for key management positions.

He has recently developed an auditing process to help organizations more accurately calculate true cost of employee turnover. It’s staggeringly higher than you think.

Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at or by phone at 870-761-7881.

Image courtesy of stockimages / Used with permission.