What Are the Questions You Should Be Asking When Interviewing Potential Staff?

As a young person fresh out of school, do you remember what it was like to do a job interview? Nerve-wracking, right? You were in front of a panel of people who you’d never seen before, being judged on a résumé or CV that may have had little more on it than an undergrad internship and a summer job or two. They would ask you questions that you may never have put much thought into, like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “What would you say is your biggest weakness?” If you were lucky, you stumbled through, got the job, and that helped you reach where you are today.

Now that you have your own practice, the shoe is on the other foot! You’re now sitting on the other side of the desk, looking at a nervous millennial and… you probably still don’t know what to say. That’s okay; interviews are often awkward affairs. The trick when you’re hiring is to have a list of questions that you ask everyone who comes into the room. These questions may range from the basic and professional to the quirky and weird, but the answers you receive will give you a clear indication of who is the right person for the job.

Question 1: How did you hear about the position?
This is a great low-pressure first question to ask, just something to break the ice. It will also give you an idea about how your candidates went about doing a job search. Did the find the listing on a website? Through a recruitment agency? From a friend?

Question 2: Why do you want to work in the plastic surgery business?
This is an essential question to ask anyone applying for a job at a plastic surgery business. You want to know their motivations. Why did they decide to enter the field, what do they find exciting about the industry? You want people who have enthusiasm for plastic surgery, not those who are just looking for any job available.

Question 3: What are your professional strengths?
This can be a difficult question for potential employees to answer because it can feel like bragging. If they stumble around for an answer at first, give them a few seconds. They will come up with something! This gives you a chance to see how honest they are about their own abilities.

Question 4: What are your biggest weaknesses as an employee?
Similar question in the opposite direction. This gives you a chance to see how honest they are about their weaknesses. Everyone has flaws, so if someone can’t seem to answer this question, then that might not be a person you want to be working at your plastic surgery practice.

Question 5: What is the culture of your ideal workplace?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when hiring is that you want employees who fit well in your practice’s workplace culture. If you hire someone who is more than qualified, who is impressive on paper and in the interview, but can’t seem to fit in around the office, there is a good chance that they will leave the job before long, making the entire exercise of hiring and training them a waste of time and money.

If you look to hire for culture instead, you might be able to find someone who has all the qualifications that you are looking for AND will be a great fit for your office culture.

Question 6: Tell me how you overcame a challenge you faced in the past.
Problem-solving is a skill that you want every one of your employees to have, no matter what position they are applying for. This question will give them the chance to brag for a bit about a time when they shined at a former job or in school. It will provide you with a great insight into how they handle problems, and the types of solutions they come up with.

Questions 7: What is your dream job?
Hopefully you won’t just hear, “The one I am interviewing for right now!”

Asking about their dream job can give you a much better barometer of their future plans than the usual question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” This allows them to shoot for the stars, to share with you what they truly want out of their career.

Question 8: What are your salary expectations?
This question is about far more than seeing how much you can get them for.

You want employees who have done their research, who know the general salary requirements of the position you are hiring for. If you ask a potential employee this question and they have absolutely no idea how to answer it, you will know that they didn’t bother to go on Glassdoor or a similar site to see the salary range for this type of position. But those who DO have the numbers have done the homework. Those are the employees that you want working for you.

Also, yes, it will also give you an idea of how much you can get them for!

Question 9: Tell me what you like to do outside of work?
Asking a personal question like this will do far more than give you an insight into their interests. It will also allow them to drop their professional guard and tell you a bit about them personally. Even if you don’t share their interests or hobbies, it will give you a chance to see what they didn’t put on their CV, sharing the things that make them interesting as an individual, not just as a potential employee.

Question 10: Explain something that you feel passionate about, within two minutes.
This is more of a request than a question, but it serves a remarkably useful purpose. First, it puts a little bit of pressure on them, giving you an opportunity to see them “problem-solve” in real time. Second, when they only have two minutes, they don’t have time to figure out exactly what they are going to say. Instead, they are going to be speaking off the top of their head about something that excites them. In other words, a little “rant.” That will give you a better measure of them as a person. Chances are, the “rants” that stick with you will be the ones from the potential employees that stood out the most.

Also, it’s a great way to break up the standard interview questions and give you an opportunity to watch and observe rather than interrogate.

Interviews can be stressful, on both sides of the table. Just remember not to get discouraged. Remember, the solution to all of your employment problems might be the next person to walk through the door!

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