I had a comment on the previous staffing post and since my response is long (and it's a universal question), I'm posting my response up here.
The question was: "I am ready to interview my first manager on Monday, and need 10 good questions to ask."
Most employers like to ask behavioral interview questions. Questions like these tap into your job candidate's previous behavior and performance, rather than questions that focus on what the interviewee might do in the future. Most companies have adopted a behavioral interviewing strategy because people's past performance tends to be the best indicators for their future performance.
Also, an important part of our interviewing strategy is not just developing the right questions to ask, but also creating a list of adjectives that describes the traits you're looking for in the position (some of your interview questions should tap into making sure you're hiring the right person for the right position). For example, if I was hiring a store manager, these are some of the traits I'd be looking for: honesty/integrity, ability to manage people/leadership skills, creativity, strong communication skills, confidence, resourcefulness and organizational skills.
Here are 12 behavioral/trait-based interview questions for you to ask your candidate, and a few things to keep in mind as you listen to the anwers:
Question 1: What would motivate you to optimal performance?
Answer: Not only should you be looking for the candidate to be motivated by money (especially if you're offering a bonus program which I highly suggest), but also get a sense that the candidate really loves managing people and making customers happy.
Question 2: Can you tell me about a time at work when you faced a difficult situation and how you worked to resolve it?
Answer: You're looking for an answer that ensures your candidate is resourceful and/or can handle a tough situation.
Question 3: How would you measure the success of this position?
Answer: You're looking for an answer that focuses on hitting the (sales) goals for the store while doing a great job managing the team. From my perspective, a great store manager is not only goal-oriented, but also loves working on a team.
Question 4: Can you tell me about a time that you handled a tough customer situation, what happened and how did you resolve it?
Answer: You're looking to make sure that the candidate has strong customer service skills.
Question 5: Have you ever had to use your creativity/resourcefulness to solve a problem, what was the situation and how did you resolve it?
Answer: Again, this question addresses resourcefulness and creativity. A variety of answers are acceptable as long as the candidate is referring to past examples instead of what they would do in the future.
Question 6: What would you do if you suspected that an employee was stealing?
Answer: You're looking for the manager to come to you, or investigate the situation. This question taps into their integrity and ethics.
Question 7: Are you the type of person for whom things never seem to fall through the cracks?
Answer: The candidate shows a strong sense of ownership and organization and gives specific examples.
Question 8: How do you feel about making a tough decision?
Anwer: The candidate indicates that they are very comfortable and provides a specific example of doing so in the past. This question may also tap into their leadership skills as well.
Question 9: What principles guide your conduct?
Answer: Candidate stresses honesty, integrity, and truthfulness.
Question 10: What role do you believe relationships play in making a sale?
Annswer: Indicates relationships are very important to making a sale and in creating repeat customers.
Question 11: What do you use to develop a quick rapport with customers? Do you use any special techniques?
Answer: Identifies specific techniques for developing a rapport/connecting with customers.
Question 12: How important is it for you to develop a strong rapport with your employees? Why is that?
Answer: Emphasizes the importance creating a relationship with staff so they are happy and feel motivated to perform.
Good luck. Interviews are always challenging for everyone involved. I'd love to hear about the results.