Bringing on new staff is both a big commitment AND a big investment. The reality of hiring is that you’re not only going to be paying this person’s salary, but also training and interacting with them on a regular basis – meaning that hiring the right man or woman for the job is critical on both the productivity and interpersonal front. After turning over dozens of applications and resumes, the interview process will most likely be your last step in narrowing the pack down to the best candidate to fill that empty office at the end of the hall. For this reason, it is important that you make the most of the interview(s) by asking a mix of traditional AND creative questions throughout the interview process – this allows you, as the employer, to gain a unique insight into what makes your candidate(s) tick.

Obviously you’re going to want to know what kind of a worker your interviewee happens to be. Are they hardworking and dedicated, or lazy and uninspired? One way to gain some insight into their work ethic and habits is to inquire about what kind of work they have done in the past. While a resume will contain all of their “real” employers, it probably won’t include all the lawns they may have mowed in high school, or the neighbors they helped move in or out, or the summers spent throwing hay from sun up till sun down helping on the family farm. These types of “non-resume” work experiences can be very revealing as to the nature of someone’s work ethic, so make sure to ask questions like “what other kinds of work have you done in the past?”

Also, learning what kinds of personal interests and hobbies an individual has can tell you a lot about them. For instance, do they like woodworking? Photography? Hiking? If someone has taken the time to develop a skill or skillset, then the likelihood that they understand the importance of dedication and hard work is probably pretty high. So, ask how they like to spend their free time – you might be surprised!

In addition to being a hard worker, you’d also like your employees to be intelligent, self-sufficient, and willing to take both directive and initiative. You’d hate to hire on someone expecting to gain a valuable asset in the workplace only to discover that they…aren’t. That’s why asking questions that will require the interviewee to think through issues in an effort to demonstrate their problem solving skills and habits is vital. Present them with unique, hypothetical scenarios that will force them to utilize their problem solving skillset. Toss out “what it” situations that involve obstacles like tight deadlines, unexpected workloads, unhappy clients, or basically any difficult scenarios that could occur in the workplace.

It is also important to know how your potential employees see your company, as well as their future within it. Unfortunately, Millennials are notorious for being capricious and noncommittal in the workplace, which sometimes makes the hiring process seem like a revolving door. So, asking where they see the company in five years, or what they hope to accomplish over the next year at the company, provided they get the job. If you get the impression that an interviewee isn’t a secure, long term investment, then it’s quite possible that they’d probably be better off working for one of your competitors.

In the end, you want to make every effort to ensure that you’re employing only the best the workforce has to offer. By asking the right questions, you can narrow down your pool of hopeful candidates to the one best fit future employee for your company.