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Key questions to ask to find key staff

Getty Images/Zoonar RF/Getty Images/Zoonar RF

When hiring, Thomas Nelson publishers chairman Michael Hyatt says you should look for people with H3S. That's shorthand for filling your company with people who are humble, honest, hungry and smart.

In recent blog postings, he outlined the importance of those criteria and, perhaps more helpfully, some questions that can help you to evaluate candidates:


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You want individuals who don't have too high or too low an opinion of themselves, and are learners, respecting other views. They should be "other-centred" – valuing other people, and open to correction. Some questions to ask in the interview to :

What do you see as your three greatest strengths?

What do you think is your biggest weakness?

How do you learn best? How would you describe your learning style?

You've obviously accomplished a great deal. To what do you attribute that success?

We all make mistakes. When you discover that you have made one, how do you handle it?


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You want someone who is honest and has integrity – someone who does not lie, does not withhold negative information, keeps commitments, and is honest in giving feedback to others. Provocative questions:

Do you think that telling a "white lie" is ever justified for the greater good?

If things go wrong with a project, what obligation if any do you feel compelled to share with your boss?

If someone has wronged you in some way, how do you deal with the situation?

Can you tell me about a recent situation where you had to share bad news with someone? How did you handle it?

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to make good on a commitment that you wished you hadn't made?

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A hungry person is one who doesn't dwell on past accomplishments but is always reaching for more. He or she should be intellectually curious. Telling questions:

Are you satisfied with what you have accomplished in your life so far?

What are your biggest personal goals? What are your biggest career goals?

Do you consider yourself a reader? What was the last book you have read? What are you reading now?

How do you make sure that you follow up on your assignments? Do you have a system?

How do you typically prepare for meetings?


You want someone who is a quick study, with street smarts, able to connect the dots through an ability to think laterally. Some questions:

How well did you do in school? If you had to do it over again, how would you have done it differently?

What do you wish they had taught you in school that they didn't?

Do you consider yourself a smart person? If so, why?

What are some of your interests outside work?

Harvey Schachter is a Battersea, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online work-life balance column.

E-mail Harvey Schachter

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