06

4 Creative Questions to Ask in Your Interviews

As an employer in the age of unlimited connectivity, where social networking and powerful search engines like Google make it easier than ever to research your potential new employees, the job interview is still the best tool at your disposal for finding the best people to work for you. However, for prospective employees, getting through an interview can sometimes be viewed as if it were a grade school test, where there is only one correct answer, and a series of correct answers results in a pass. To this end it can be difficult to know whether or not you are getting honest answers from your interviewees. If you can’t get a good sense for how a person will actually behave on the job, how can you be confident that you’ll be hiring the right person for the job? Instead of sticking to the classic interview questions like “what do you think is your biggest weakness?” and “tell me about yourself,” try some of these more creative questions. Not only will you learn some interesting things about your candidates, but you’ll also see how they handle stress when faced with questions that they won’t have anticipated.

1. “How would you handle an emergency situation in the workplace?”

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Ask your interviewee how they might react in an hypothetical situation

It’s a fact of life that sometimes emergencies happen. Maybe there is an anecdote you can relate about a time when there was a sudden medical emergency in your business, for example. Ask your interviewee how they might react if someone were to need medical attention on short notice, be it a coworker or a customer, and express that it is important as an employee of your business that they be prepared for any situation. The goal of this question is to try and get a sense of how your applicant will act and react under pressure; are they the sort of person who steps up and takes charge where others might panic, or are they the sort of person who will tend to defer to authority in most situations? You’ll have a great idea of how the applicant will represent your company in crisis with this question.

2. “What kind of managerial style do you like best?”

Ask this question to feel out what kind of environment your applicant thrives in and if that environment is like the one you’ve built. Be self-aware when it comes to how you run your own business and the ways in which you deal with your employees, and compare the answer you receive against that. The applicant should have no concept of how exactly you or your other managers run the business, so ideally the answer you’re getting is honest. They’ll want to work in an environment that lets them succeed, too, meaning there is little incentive to try and guess at what answer you want to hear. If they stumble on this question, chances are they don’t have a good sense of how they work.

3. “When was a time you made a mistake on the job, and how did you learn from it?”

This is an excellent question because, unlike asking about one’s “greatest weakness,” it allows you to get some insight in to how your applicant actually performs on the job. Struggling to come up with an answer for this question or an attempt to dodge it altogether should be huge red flag for you as an employer. You want to hire people who are willing to admit that they are human and make mistakes, but are also capable of demonstrating that they make an effort to avoid repeating the mistakes they’ve made in the past.

4. “A coworker strongly disagrees with how you work. How do you handle it?”

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Challenge the interviewee’s perceptions

This is a slightly different take on the usual questions asked about dealing with conflict in the workplace. This question directly challenges the interviewee’s perceptions of how they work and interact with others. Simply running to authority to mediate the disagreement is not a great answer to this question, because what you should ideally be looking for is someone who can handle problems like this on their own. Look for an answer that involves some sort of mutual compromise or a willingness to change in order to better fit in with the team you’ve built. This way, you can be confident that your employees can navigate whatever challenges you throw at them.

05

SEO: Do You Need To Outsource?

SEO isn’t something everyone knows about until they set foot in a marketing department, or venture into business. At the very start of building up a business, you don’t exactly NEED to use SEO, especially if you’re also advertising on newspapers or using word of mouth, but there comes a point when your business gets big enough to start mattering a lot. SEO will help you rank better on Google and other search engines, with as a result that you get more attention, more customers, and in the end, more revenue.

Plenty of companies make their living offering both SEO and SEM services, and you’ve probably had enough spam about it to last you a lifetime. The amount of spam can make it difficult to separate the real companies from the fake ones, and make you hesitant about starting. The good news, though, is that it’s not as hard as it looks, and you don’t need to hesitate.

What do you really need to make a page SEO friendly?

Make your website SEO friendly

Make your website SEO friendly

If you’ve written your own page, you might have noticed meta descriptions both for the entire page and the images you have. While you were writing it, you probably tried to make your page look the best it can, with a nice image, neatly laid-out text, and an easy-to-read cadence. SEO isn’t much different to that. All you’d need to do is make sure those meta descriptions have the correct keyword, your page title matches, and it’s present in your text in a few places. While it can be hard to define those places, there are services that will run a check on your page if you enter the URL and your keyword – many people trust MOZ with their SEO results, with its easy-to-use interface and clear results within moments of clicking update. So you know how to layout your text, and how to make sure if you’ve got it right. Then it’s up to the content. While the content itself is easy, picking a keyword is a bit harder.

Determining a keyword

Use Google AdWords to find the best keywords

Use Google AdWords to find the best keywords

While you could pick a keyword out of thin air – for example, Seattle Plumbing – the best way to find your keyword is through Google AdWords. It’ll show you exactly how many searches a keyword has, and what kind of competition there is. You can find one that suits you here easily enough. However, Google AdWords can be a bit intimidating and a little harder to use, but if you want to use it, there’s plenty of text and video guides all over the internet – just a Google search away. With that kind of information, it shouldn’t be too hard to find your keyword!

So do you need to outsource?

Once you know you don’t need that much to write your content, you have to ask yourself the question whether you want to invest in access-fees to some of the services you might need, and whether you’re willing to invest the time in writing attractive-sounding text that incorporates the keywords without it sounding too unnatural. Especially if the language your text is in is not our native language, you may not feel entirely comfortable creating new content to such specific terms. So the answer in short is no, you don’t HAVE to, but in a lot of ways it can save you time, effort, and you know you’ve got professional content. 5 Signs Outsourcing Is Right For you.

If you do choose to outsource, you need to make sure you look out for a few of the pitfalls you might stumble into that some less than reputable companies may use. First, you need to check the quality of the work. Are the keywords present correctly, used well, and does the text still sound attractive? Getting traffic on your website will mean a lot less if the visitors leave immediately. And secondly, one of the other most important things is to make sure the content is unique. Some companies will recycle text, and if your website is too similar to someone else’s, you’ll be penalized by search engines. To be sure, run the text through some websites that will compare the text, like copyscape. If you’re happy with the text, and happy with the price, you’re good to go. Outsourcing might just be for you!

03

3 Ways Your Manager Could Improve Your Business If given a Shot

If you have a manager who works between you and most of the employees and floor work, they have some ideas about what you could do differently. No matter how much they seem to be on board with your vision and into the ideas you offered, it’s not going to be enough for them. The simple reason is because they have more experience down there on the ground floor. Do you think the Captains have a different way to run the war than the Generals? That’s you and them, and if you open up and give them a chance you could be surprised to find that pretty much all managers could improve your business in these three ways if they’re given a chance.

Get Rid of the Employees Who Don’t Pull Their Weight

If your manager could hire and fire without consulting anyone else, the very first thing they would do would be to get rid of the employees who don’t pull their weight. This doesn’t mean just getting rid of the employees who are obviously terrible, because you probably do that already. It means getting rid of the employees who only give about 40% instead of 110%. It means getting rid of slackers who never come back from their lunch break on time but really have a good excuse every single day. Your manager could put the fear of God into a herd of employees with a few judicious firings, and then you’d have a much better workforce over all.

Polish up the Customer Service Interactions

Give Your Manager a chance to improve customer relationships

Give Your Manager a chance to improve customer relationships.

One of the perks of being the boss is that you don’t have to deal with customers that often. Even if you’re a people person who normally loves getting to know people, customer service is a terrible way to get to know them. It’s like you only get to meet the very worst sides of people. Instead of hearing about their pets, you get to hear about how they don’t understand why you won’t let them exchange their Christmas tree in August. They are angry, and they know what they want, and it’s often unreasonable. With all the distance you understandably want between yourself and the rude customers there’s a chance that you don’t know how to polish up customer service as much as the manager does. Give him a chance and you could be surprised at the innovative twist he could put on the process—and the cashiers he would pull so they never talk to a customer directly again.

Restock along the Trends That Engage Interest in Customers

Managers have their fingers on the pulse of your company

Manager have their fingers on the pulse of your company

Your managers can also pinpoint a variety of customer trends that don’t reflect in the actual purchases. By talking to customers, by watching what they considered buying before choosing their product he could help you trim stock that isn’t needed. He could also council you when people start asking for products that just aren’t offered by you. The manager has his fingers on the pulse of your company. The actual rate of sales is how you judge your current stock, but what people are interested in today is how you should be planning the stock that you’re going to buy tomorrow. You can both trim your inventory of unneeded things and add in the things that will sell.