Questions for a new employee-to-be

I have been involved with many interviews and my favorite question to ask is "If I were to contact your former employer, what would they tell me about you." You can learn a lot about a person by asking this one question. Good Luck!
But if they said they were honest, how would you know they were being honest?

Mine would be (if I only had one) where do you see yourself in 5 years?

If I were looking for a generic person with no particular framing skill my question would be "Are you an artist?" If the answer was yes I would not hire them, especially the art students.

That comes from all the years of hiring I did at the BB's. I can't say how many people I hired and trained. I do know that most of the artists were there to use the equipment and to get their hands on any framing materials available to them that they didn't have to pay for. Some would even take stuff without asking. Or misorder frames that would become "oops" frames. I'd be leaving for the day and the evening crew would start filing in, there would always be one or two with their portfolios or art tubes with them.....I was wise to them and they always had short lived careers under my command.

But, boy did it leave a bitter taste in my mouth.
"Do you smoke?" As an ex-smoker, I probably realize more than some employers how much time I wasted at MY employer's expense. So when I hired a smoker, I was very sensitive to her multiple trips outside to "take out the trash" just so she could steal a few drags off a cigarette. Believe me, the trash didn't need to be emptied 8 times a day!
It's a smelly, dirty habit, too. Of course, that's just my opinion - I could be wrong! :rolleyes:
The statement with which I always start an interview is the ever-cliched,

"So, tell me about yourself."

It's not totally what they say, but how they say it. I really just want to see how the person handles the situation. Usually I could tell if they were suitable within the first few sentences.

This does not get into the issues of honesty and dependability. This is what I hope to learn by THOROUGHLY checking references.

edie the ohwhatatrialitis goddess
Assuming they have experiance, I would ask "What do you see here that you would change if you could?"
I always asked them to give me a specific instance where they were given a problem, specifics of what the problem was, what steps they went through to solve the problem and what the outcome was.

It doesn't matter what the problem was, but it will give you a good idea of their communication skills and their attention to detail based on how they describe the problem and particularly the steps they went through. If they have experience in framing, you can ask for a specific framing problem that they dealt with and get a feel for their skill level.

If they try to generalize and can't (or won't) give you a specific example, then you want to keep looking. Even a high schooler has been through the process at one time or another.

For younger people just starting out in the work force, it may be necessary to make suggestions of where they may have been through the process.

The thing to remember is that you want a specific instance rather than general description of duties/responsabilities.
This brings up the issue of what questions do you NOT ask also. You must be careful about the legalities and ask only questions directly related to their ability to perform the work duties.

Always ask open questions and then sit back and let them talk. They will usually tell you all about themselves See how they handle the awkward moment when they finish and you don't say anything or ask another question.

Ask them why they want to work for your company.
If they don't know any of the history of the company or its personnel, or the products or services you offer and what type of clients you serve, they haven't done their homework and they are just looking for beer and gas money. Serious potential valuable employees want to work for YOU and your company.

Dave Makielski
Jason, I would have the same question as yours, with a slight modification. I ask "WHEN I contact your former employer, what will they tell me about you?"

The one thing a never try to do is ask questions that can have a yes or no answer. Rather than ask: Do you know how to do such and such? I say please explain how you would do such and such.

Dave, you are right, opened ended questions are best. People love to talk about themselves.

Will you really work weekends or are you blowing smoke up my rear like the last 5 people who have warmed that chair?
I have narrowed my selection down to 2 people, you and another person. You both have the same education, the same work history, your references came out to be the same, and you both answered all of my previous questions the same....Why should I hire you over the other person?

Side note: Typical response to that lately has been "Oh wow, I wasn't ready for that one"
I guess you are asking this question so you can put them all together in an interview.

One I would add to these is "Why do you want to work in a frame shop?". It can't be because the pay is so good.

I am willing to train a new hire, so I had a number of people apply who wanted to learn to frame so they could go home and do it themselves. I weeded them out pretty fast when I showed them the CMC, underpinner, glass cutter, etc. No way were they going to learn anything from me they were going to be able to duplicate in their basement. If they still wanted to learn framing after that, then I figured they probably had a legitimate desire to learn.

My worst hires were artists. I did manage to get maybe two good framers who were artists, so I wouldn't say I would never hire an artist.
The best framing worker I ever knew, was and artist.

Best, as in hard worker, quick, efficent, and very very accurate. He never listened to any music that I didn't want to hear, in fact he never listened to music.

He was very quiet, and didn't socialize, just did the work.

It was a production shop and he was knocking out more work than two of us....

Like I said, he was a serious artist: steel scupture and bronze castings. He was also deaf and mute.

I was the first person he had ever worked with, that he could talk to. That really stoked his coal. He had a very nice wife too who was a nurse.

But I digress. Things you can ask:

"Are you ready to go take your drug test right now?"

"Please write for me a page in your own hand-writing, where you see yourself fitting in our business in five years, what quality do you feel that you bring to this business, and why do you want to work for us specifically." Note: Please allow two weeks for us to have your handwriting analysed.

"What are your teachers going to tell me about you when I interview them?" And request a curriculum vita (high school transcripts). Yes you can and should from anyone under 22. They will tell you VOLUMES about a person of that age group.
I don't remember who suggested it, but I like the idea of asking the prospect to tell you a joke.

I haven't had many job interviews (other than the 3-1/2 hours to get my current job) but I still remember my college interview at Rice in Houston. "What books have you read lately?"

I have always been a voracious reader, but the only books I could remember under "pressure" were ALL of the Ian Fleming James Bond books.

Ask the unexpected to see how quick the prospect is.
Had a management hiring group ask me "If you were in the woods with your sister and your wife, they both got bit by a poisonous snake and you only had enough anti-vemon to save one of them, who would you save?"

Totally stupid question, meant to test your ability to think quick and defend your decisions. I told the guy that was a stupid question as my (ex)wife would never set foot in the woods! Should have told him I'd "save" my sister as I knew he was in the midst of a very bitter divorce (I worked with his wife)!

A freind was vying for the same job, took the sister tack and got the job. Real life and death issues were sure to pop up managing an ice cream store!
I'd ask if they've ever told a lie.

If they say, no, they've never told a lie, you know they're lying and can't be trusted.

Either that, or you're interviewing Superman.

Bob, they should have said, "Your sister and your wife, both lactose intolerant, come in and each have a BIG dish of ice cream. You only have enough Immodium for one of them. Which one gets it?"

I should be in HR.
Ron, Superman lied to everyone, including his friends about his identity.

Instead of a question, how about pulling a pen out of your pocket and asking them to sell it to you.
Anybody know if it's illegal to ask them if they are colorblind?

Had 2 colorblind employees over the years and, holy heck, it makes things so incredibly difficult. They both hid it. Didn't find out until I'd get frames cut with, say, 3 gold metal rails and 1 silver.
Not illegal as it relates to job function.

Dave Makielski
Of course, I'm thinking you are referring to the function of mat selection, etc...

Now, if you are referrring to how they handle your clientelle...

They D*&#^ well better be "Color Blind"!

Dave Makielski
I would ask a prospective employee, "You want to work in a picture framing shop … are you nuts?"