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Discussion Starter #1
I am putting together a list of pre-interview qualification questions interview questions to ask during the hiring process. I have a pretty good list of interview questions, but I think my pre-interview telephone qualification questions are lacking.

So far I have these pre-interview qualification questions:
Do you have experience selling our products?

Do you have a problem with working from your home and communicating via internet and phone?

Do you have a problem setting your own schedule and then keeping to that set schedule?

Do you have your own vehicle which can be used for business purposes?


The purpose of these questions is to make sure that I do not waste my time meeting with people who won't be a match for my company. What other questions should I add?
 

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I just had a customer tell me that he has three 'magic' pre-screening questions that he asks. He was quite serious but wouldn't tell me what they were - I'm working on discovering them. If I'm succesful I'll pass them along provided they're not 1.) Are you pregnant? 2.) Do you want to become pregnant soon? 3.) Are you married? :Thumbs:
 

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Hi Grumpy,

The first thing I noticed is that these are "yes" / "no" answers that really don't ask for detail. I'll just write my suggestions after each.

"Do you have experience selling our products?"

Tell me about your sales experience - specifically your experience in selling construction products to the end consumer.


"Do you have a problem with working from your home and communicating via internet and phone?"

Tell me about your outside sales experience, how often were you in the office and how did you communicate with the office? (Answer) How was that for you?


"Do you have a problem setting your own schedule and then keeping to that set schedule?"

When you did your outside sales, how independently did you operate? (Answer) Did you create your own schedule?


"Do you have your own vehicle which can be used for business purposes?"

Honestly this shouldn't be a question. This should be a "Our company policy for outside sales people's transporation is...." and I really wouldn't even bring it up in the phone interview. Any decent outside salesperson will have his/her own reliable transportation.

As far as further questions... You can ask them where they plan to be professionally in 5 years and then ask them how this position will contribute to where they plan to be in 5 years. The thing to watch on this question is the amount of time it takes them to respond - they'll need a little time but not too much. See if they really have a plan to keep moving forward or if they're looking to "park" somewhere.

I also wouldn't be afraid to flat out say to them "Can I ask you, what about our ad/posting/whatever prompted you to respond to it?" See why they contacted you - they may say something to you that goes right to the heart of why you're in business.

These questions should work out to about a 20 minute portion of the phone call. They should give you some handy insight.

Tim
 

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TimWieneke said:
The first thing I noticed is that these are "yes" / "no" answers that really don't ask for detail.
Grumpy said:
"pre-interview"
Tim, I took it that he wanted questions to screen those not worth spending more time on.
 

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Pipe,
I know what you're saying but here's the thing - with the questions I suggested you're not screening "who not to interview" you're screening "who to interview". You can target relatively quickly the couple of people that you really want to spend any time at all on. Naturally, you don't have to ask all the questions. You may get an answer to one that is so way off base that there is no point in continuing the phone screening.

Tim
 

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That's a good point Tim. For a couple of years I included a question on job applications that read something like "what was the biggest challenge you faced at your last job and how did you handle it?" Of the 30 or 40 applications I included it on I got only one guy to even try and take a stab at answering it. His answer was something to the extent that one of his co-workers constantly badgered him - he handled it by kicking the guy's ass one day in the parking lot. :D Takes all kinds in construction, huh?
 

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the problem with yes/no closed ended questions is that the interview could go alot faster than needed.
it would be easy for me to answer the way you want me to. I have had installers who come in all the time asking for work, and if you ask them, they are really professional.
but some open ended questions will have them respond a bit differently, and it can be easy to see who is full of hot air.
 

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Grump you could always use my prescreen questions.

1. If you hadn't smoked crack in the last hour, how long do you think you could go without it.

2. What type of car was it that hit you and did you get the tag number.

3. Is that your nose or are you eating a banana.

4. If you hade to choose between being burnt at the stake or having your head chopped off which would you choose.
note: A burnt steak is better than a cold chop.

5. Don't I know your mom?

:Thumbs:
Bob
 

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Glasshousebltr said:
Grump you could always use my prescreen questions.

1. If you hadn't smoked crack in the last hour, how long do you think you could go without it.

5. Don't I know your mom?
Absolutely LMAO! (Maybe it's the fifth martini kickin' in) :Thumbs:
 

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Grumpy, I know that this started out serious and I'll address that tomorrow but just for fun.
Are you familiar with Monica Lewinski's credentials?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Tim excellent advice. I was shooting for the yes no in the pre-interview to shorten my conversation and get right to the point. When it actually comes to the interview I have a lengthy list of open ended questions to be asked in a conversational manner.

20 minutes?! I will determine if they are worth within 5 minutes tops. I am not going to spend 20 minutes on the phone.
 

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Florcraft said:
I have had installers who come in all the time asking for work, and if you ask them, they are really professional..
This is why i work alone.These days my interveiws go quickly.

Looking-for-work-installer: Hi are you hiring?

Me: No, not really.

Looking-for-work-installer: Ok, can I give you my # if anything comes up?

Me: Sure.
I wonder whatever happened to all those #'s. If he was any good, wouldn't he already have a job.

A phone conversation should go quickly. Usually the tone of his voice and manner of speach tells alot. Some people just sound useless.

  1. Liscense?
  2. Tools?
  3. Reliable transportation? We meet at my house and that's where I drop you off. I ain't running a taxi service here.
  4. Have you ever even seen a real live power-stretcher? (I'm not looking to teach some kicker-jockey how to do his job. Don't waste your time, you're gonna think I'm an a$$hhole.
  5. How about seam sealer?

By this time I know what I'm dealing with and if there's any reason to meet face-to-face.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Don Benham said:
If he was any good, wouldn't he already have a job.
Not always the case. Perhaps he was working for a dimwitted boss who stiffed him on pay or he closed up shop and fired everyone.

It seems you were discussing hiring of installers and I was discussing hiring of a sales team.
 

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"20 minutes?! I will determine if they are worth within 5 minutes tops. I am not going to spend 20 minutes on the phone."

"Naturally, you don't have to ask all the questions. You may get an answer to one that is so way off base that there is no point in continuing the phone screening."

I should have been more clear on this. The comment on 20 minutes is for those who have made it that far.

Tim
 

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Try this one:

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

(If he/she cries while answering, end the interview there)

LOL :D
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Seriously tim I don't have the time to spend 20 minutes on the phone. In the past when doing through the interview process from the seat of the employer I would spend 10 minutes tops on the phone. "Let me describe the position to you..... Does that sound good to you?" I would then go on to ask qualification questions about the duties required "Have you ever worked in a small office enviroment, often times working alone and unsuperivesd?" Things that related to the job. Then if they answerd my 3-5 qualification questions properly I would setup an interview face to face where I would dig deeper.
 

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One thing I might add or change about your communication via internet and telephone question... Perhaps asking 'Do you have the skills and equipment to communicate via the internet and telephone?' While they could still answer just yes or no, it might provide a little more info on their computer skills.
 

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Grumpy said:
I don't have the time to spend 20 minutes on the phone.
Me neither. That's why I rarely hire anyone that doesn't come referred from an employee.
If I have to hire 'from the outside' it'll go like this:
Two minutes on the phone to set up an interview with anyone that calls, has a driver's license and their own wheels. No "I know the bus routes" or " is the job near the subway" or "the girl I'm stayin' wit can carry me to...". I give them my name, telephone number, directions to the office. Tell them no cameras, no cell phones, no tape recorders, no guests. 25 phone inquiries = 8 guys that show up.
4 guys show up on time - the two sober ones get applications. The other two are either so desperately in need, or recently hooked-up, that I tell them they're a week early and invite them to come back (they never do).
4 guys come late - they get excused for that reason.
1 guy fills out the application in ten minutes or less, in silence, and gets an interview. 75% of the time he's the one.
1 guy can't complete the application after 25 minutes but has managed to tell me about the 12 jobs and 11 sh_tty bosses he's had in the last three years - I tell him we'll be reviewing the applications and 'making some calls' in the next couple of days.
Is this as sad as it looks in writing? I'm glad our employee retention is great.
 

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PipeGuy said:
Me neither. That's why I rarely hire anyone that doesn't come referred from an employee.
If I have to hire 'from the outside' it'll go like this:
Two minutes on the phone to set up an interview with anyone that calls, has a driver's license and their own wheels. No "I know the bus routes" or " is the job near the subway" or "the girl I'm stayin' wit can carry me to...". I give them my name, telephone number, directions to the office. Tell them no cameras, no cell phones, no tape recorders, no guests. 25 phone inquiries = 8 guys that show up.
4 guys show up on time - the two sober ones get applications. The other two are either so desperately in need, or recently hooked-up, that I tell them they're a week early and invite them to come back (they never do).
4 guys come late - they get excused for that reason.
1 guy fills out the application in ten minutes or less, in silence, and gets an interview. 75% of the time he's the one.
1 guy can't complete the application after 25 minutes but has managed to tell me about the 12 jobs and 11 sh_tty bosses he's had in the last three years - I tell him we'll be reviewing the applications and 'making some calls' in the next couple of days.
Is this as sad as it looks in writing? I'm glad our employee retention is great.
It's amazing Kentucky and West Virginia even have houses.

Bob
 
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