The 5 Most Important Questions Hiring Managers Should Ask – but Don’t


Hiring managers are making a big mistake – they are asking the wrong questions.  Most often they want to know your role and for whom you worked. But that’s the wrong question.hiringmanager

For instance, to hire a Demand Generation Manager, they might be looking for someone who did that role for a competitor.  But my experience – more than once – has shown this to be a big mistake.  whether it was me or my former employer.  Years ago, after growing GE by 242% in just 12 months, they hired the same role from their #1 competitor.  But he didn’t last six months, because he didn’t manage the account like I did.

To help you, I’d like to share the five questions that hiring manager don’t ask, but they should:

  1. When have you failed and how did you deal with it?
    Failure is how we learn and it is critical to improving. Show me someone who has never failed and I will show you a loser.
  2. How many Twitter followers and LinkedIn recommendations do you have?
    I say they should have at least 1,000 twitter followers (over 6,100 for me) and more than 10 recommendations (over 45 for me).  That’s minimal exposure on social media. Social media is so important today, why would you hire a rookie?
  3. Have you ever been passionate about a company? Tell me about it.
    Experts have written that passion is critical to a company’s success but it is almost never asked.  See Chapter 21 on pages 63 and 64 of the book Brainfluence.
  4. Whom do you know who is an expert in this field?
    Let’s go back to our Demand Generation Manager role.  Does he or she know content marketing experts? Does he or she know the people at marketing software companies? (With Marketing Made Simple TV, my network is superb!)
  5. When have you had a surprising question and how did you answer it?
    I really like this question because it shows strong leadership.  After doing a webinar with Act-On Software, I got a call from their VP of Marketing, David Appelbaum.  David said to me “Jeff, you did a wonderful job on the webinar.  I’d like to do Phase 2 with you.”  I said “Thanks David. What is Phase 2?” He said “I want to create an online TV show, and I want you to host for us.”  I’m thinking – I’ve never been on camera and I’ve never interviewed people. So what did I say? I said “Thanks for asking. I’d love to do it.”  As it turned out, I was a very, very good show host and it got bigger and bigger all the time and turned into Marketing Made Simple TV – a truly awesome show!.

I hope those five questions help hiring managers hire better employees.

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