Ask This: Would Your Last Boss Hire You Again?

It’s no secret: hiring great people starts with asking great interviewing questions.

But just what should you be asking?

With just a few swipes of the thumb, job seekers can instantly find the best answers to common interview questions online, practice up, and then fool you into thinking they’re a great fit.

Your mission?

Ask unexpected questions that yield honest, revealing answers.

Here’s one of our favorite interview questions that break through a candidate’s interview façade – and tell you whether they have the right stuff to thrive in your organization:

Would your last boss hire you again?

Asking for the name of your interviewee’s last supervisor, and then following up with this rehire question, can elicit honest feedback that you might not get with more standard queries. We love this question because, with adequate probing and clarification, the candidate’s answer reveals:

  • their ethics;
  • how self-aware they are (self-awareness is an important soft skill that correlates with leadership potential);
  • how they relate to managers.

Here’s what you should look for in a candidate’s response:

  • Red flags. Does the candidate immediately become defensive? Do they hesitate to give you their last supervisor’s name? Do they make disparaging remarks about their boss? Even if a candidate couldn’t stand their last manager, they should never violate the “don’t badmouth your employer” rule. Any whiff of defensiveness or evasiveness should be a clear warning that warrants further investigation.
  • An understanding of how others perceive them. Most candidates can tell you what they think of themselves. Individuals with high emotional intelligence, however, can also accurately explain how others perceive them. Pay attention to how well the candidate’s response aligns with your own impressions of them.
  • A human component. Some candidates will give you a resounding “Yes!” and immediately launch into an explanation that clearly indicates they had a great relationship with their boss. Since past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, you should find this type of response reassuring.

    But if the interviewee limits their response to a “just the facts” description of their official work relationship with their supervisor, consider why. At the end of the day, the whole person – skills, experience AND personality – shows up for work each day. Make sure you’re comfortable with how this candidate relates to authority, and follow up with another question like “What would your last boss list as your greatest weaknesses?” if you’re unsatisfied with their initial answer.

Need help finding people who fit, perform and thrive long-term?

PrideStaff takes the risk out of hiring. Our On Target fulfillment process eliminates chance and inconsistency, delivering better quality candidates each and every time. Whether your needs are entry-level or management, On Target can make your hiring process more successful.  Contact your local PrideStaff office today to learn more.