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9 Perfect Interview Questions for Job Hoppers

I think you’ll agree with me when tell you that job hoppers can be hard to spot.

The problem that hiring managers have is that job hoppers are “professional interviewers”, meaning they’re great at acing job interviews by telling you what you want to hear.

In this blog post I’m going to give you my exact strategies for spotting job hoppers.

Job Hoppers Are Sneaky

Through years of trial and error conducting interviews I was able to master the art of catching a job hopper.

It was hard work and frustrating at times, but once I started asking the right questions, I was able to weed out the fake answers of job hoppers easily.

And there’s one reason why job hoppers are so hard to spot…

interview questions for job hoppers

It’s because they go to a lot of job interviews!

They’ve gotten good at making it seem like they are ready to come aboard and be an amazing asset for your company.

Truth is, you’re just going to be the job hopper’s “next paycheck”, until something else grabs their attention and they leave you shorthanded again!

Spotting Job Hoppers is Mega Important

If you are the next victim on the job hoppers list, then it’s going to cost you money!

A report from the Center for American Progress, which studied 11 research papers published over the course of 15 years, found that turnover can cost organizations anywhere from 16% to 213% of the lost employee’s salary.

16% represents the cost of turnover for positions earning less than $30,000 annually.

Higher paid jobs tend to have disproportionately higher turnover costs ranging up to 213% of the replaced employee’s salary!

For example, if a highly-trained employee was making $150,000 annually, the cost for the organization to replace that employee could be as high as $320,000!

job interview questions for job hoppers

It’s pretty obvious that you need to catch job hoppers before it’s too late!

I have used my 15+ years of interviewing experience to put together the complete list of questions for job hoppers.

Now you can you can spot them in the interview, instead of after they leave you high and dry!

Know that You are In Control

The strategy we’re going to use to properly ask the interview questions for the job hoppers is a technique that I came up with called “Established Total Control”.

Established Total Control” is a series of questions designed to put you in the driver seat of the interview.

It’s not to say that they can’t talk, because the opposite is actually true!

You will talk 10% to their 90%! But the series of these 9 questions for job hoppers is designed to make sure that they don’t take you on a ride and lead you all over the place.

YOU are in control and you will establish it clearly.

What you may notice is that the questions aren’t all that different or probing, but rather the order that you ask them in is the importance!

Let’s get into its! Here are my…

9 Perfect Interview Questions for Job Hoppers

Question 1. Where are you working now?

This sets the stage that you are going to ask questions about their employers, and puts you in control for the next question.

As they answer, take mental note of anything that needs a follow up question, and anything that is interesting.

Also be on the lookout for them to start bashing their employer. It may not happen this early, but it’s likely coming!

Question 2. How long have you worked there?

Obviously, this answer will be pretty revealing if they are in fact a job hopper.

If they haven’t been at their current job long, then you ask follow up questions as to why they’re looking for another job so soon (the employer bashing chances greatly increase here).

If they are talking poorly about the employer and they haven’t been there long, chances are getting better that they are a job hopper!

Question 3. Where did you work before that?

Once you have talked a little bit about where they are now, and how long they have been there, you’re going to keep digging going further and further back in time.

There’s a chance that they’re going to get uneasy at this point! Stay calm, be yourself, and just keep asking follow up questions!

Question 4. And what were the dates that you said you worked here? And what are the dates that you started your current job again?

OK, here is where the Established Total Control technique really comes into play.

Clearly, you just talked about their past 2 jobs, but then you go back in and ask for the dates of employment again.

This communicates that you are not going to just breeze over these jobs, and that you want details in your answers.

It also puts you in FULL control!

Pay close attention to see if anything the dates change!

What we’re doing here is looking for a pattern. Short time of employment and very likely large gaps between jobs!

Question 5. Ok, I see, and what was the reason you left your previous job?

You ask this question really quick after they tell you the dates of their last 2 jobs.

You want to be sure they have no time to make any stories up.

If they’re a job hopper, you’ll start to really get them on their heels here as they start to sweat, adjust in their chair, touch their face, etc.

You’re looking for more patterns! They may start to blame management, or the most likely answer is that the jobs didn’t match what the employer described in the interview.

Be thoughtful, and ask any follow up questions where you need clarity…

Then we just keep going!

Question 6. Ok and where were you before Job B?

Now we go even further back in time. We’ve talked about where they work now, we talked about where they worked before that (job B) and now we’re going 3 jobs into the past.

They may try to get the interview back under their control by being extremely passionate about this job.

Don’t take it for face value, but also don’t completely write it off.

Save your follow up questions at this point and go straight to question 7.

Question 7. How long were you there?

More searching for patterns. If they job hop, then they weren’t there long!

Again save your follow up questions…

Question 8. What was the reason you left?

No surprise with this question.

By this time, if they are a job hopper, they’re getting very uneasy. They will sense that you see what is going on, and you will be FULLY in control at this point.

Objective 1 accomplished, you have Established Total Control of the interview!

And now we go in for the killshot!

Question 9. It looks like you have moved jobs quite often…any reason that would be?

Call a spade a spade, but then let them explain!

There is always the off-chance that they moved often for one reason or another.

Or, like a college student that can’t decide what their major is going to be, they can see themselves as successful in one field and then they change their mind.

Click here for PDF version of the 9 Perfect Interview Questions for Job Hoppers

Devils Advocate: It’s not BAD to be a Job Hopper

In the past, I have hired people that were job hoppers, and had them become extremely productive and loyal employees!

The fact of all interviews is this:

The goal is NOT to get a “good” interview.
To goal is to get an ACCURATE interview.

When you know what you have, you can make an informed decision.

If the applicant appears to be a job hopper, but is a great fit for the position, by unearthing the fact that they change jobs a lot, you can then address it simply…

Just tell them you’re concerned that they change jobs a lot and you are looking for a long term employee to invest in.

The realness of that statement will set you up for a more honest conversation. If they open up, and you two can talk, then good!

If they keep feeding you stories and excuses, you know what you need to do…

You know you need to move on to the next candidate!

 

No Expectations – That’s How You Win In Business

How in the world can you have no expectations in business and expect to win?

It’s simple, and I’m about to teach it to you in less than 2 minutes.

Business is All About High Expectations

Obviously business is highly competitive. Tracked by metrics and KPIs. At times it almost feels like it’s life or death!

Having high expectations is the name of the game…RIGHT?

After all, the higher your expectations, the better your teams performance.

Those high expectations motivate, hold accountable, and create winning cultures.

If you’re not expecting greatness, you’ll never achieve it.

Yeah, maybe…

So Here’s The Secret

Business is disproportionately about PEOPLE.

As we lead and influence others, we end up giving so much of ourselves to them and their progress.

You have to have NO EXPECTATIONS that anyone “pays you back” for that selflessness.

Now…

That’s not to say that you WON’T be paid back.

Because you will be!

Your efforts to invest in others will end up helping you in the long run.

KARMA.

But you can’t place that expectation on the person that you helped!

You see, the recipe is simple…

Give, give, give, give, give, give, give, give….

Whether it’s a customer you went out of your way for, a peer that you stayed late to help, or a subordinate that you practiced patience with…

When you GIVE with NO EXPECTATION you will win with people. That, in turn, will cause you to win in business.

Forever.

-NG

9 Interview Questions to Ask Potential Employees

9 Revealing Interview Questions to Ask Potential Employees

When you become a leader you have to make a ton of GIANT decisions, whether as an employee who recently got promoted, or an entrepreneur with a business that’s now large enough for you to hire an employee or two. Hiring decisions are probably the most important ones!

Note that being the interviewer is a huge change from being the interviewee.

Pro Tip: Don’t ask unto others the same interview questions that were asked unto you! (That’s why you’re here!)

Or, maybe you’re a seasoned interview pro and you’re here looking for some new interview questions to ask potential employees during your interviews.

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that hiring is one of the most important parts of running a successful business, and knowing what questions to ask is the framework that leads to great hiring decisions.

I’ve got a few of great tactics here, my coaching on the ritual of hiring, and of course my 9 in depth questions to ask potential employees.

It’s Tactics vs Ritual (and Ritual ALWAYS Wins)

So what’s the difference between the two? And what are they?

Tactic – An action that you can take that will help you in an area. It’s actionable.

Ritual – A firm belief in the overall topic. Philosophical. The part of “the thing” that has passion attached to it.

So why does Ritual ALWAYS win?

Because, if you don’t have a method, an opinion, and a default attack plan then you have no where to stick these great tactics that you read about. Ritual is like “your style” of doing something.

Let me say it a bit differently…

If I list out 10 great interviewing tactics (Which I do in this post: 10 Steps to Better Hiring and Interviewing | Win the War for Talent), but you’ve never done an interview and have no idea how the flow of an interview generally goes, you can’t use any of those tactics because you have no framework to add the tactic to.

How do you build your ritual?

Good freaking question!!! Read this whole post, and then go do interviews. Lots of them. As you do, you will build your belief system on how to pull the answers out of people as you ask the questions.

So before I get to my 9 awesome questions to ask potential employees, I’ve got…

A Few Ritual Primers For You

This is so you can start to build up your style of interviewing and form that ever important ritual.

  1. Be yourself. The applicant needs to want the job, and when you are yourself it will translate into an ease and confidence in how you come off to others.
  2. Know the Core Values of the company and make sure that the applicant aligns to that. This could be a 2000 word article in-and-of itself, so I’ll just leave it open and link to an old piece that I wrote on Core Values . I also reference it in the 10 Steps to Better Hiring and Interviewing. It’s steps #3 and #2.
  3. Don’t be nervous! You are in control, so you shouldn’t be nervous. You might be when you start, but know that they are the ones under the light, and you are running the show.
  4. Interview them using your personality. Don’t try to be some hardass when you’re a sweetheart. I know this is practically the same as #1, BUT, it’s that important.

All right…Let’s get to the thing that you came here for!

 

Interview Questions to Ask Potential Employees

Obviously you need to shake their hand, and go through introductions. Then you get to…

QUESTION 1:
The best way to start an interview is with a question that let’s them talk about whatever they want to talk about. One of my Core Values is to always have fun, so I phrase my first question like this:

Give me your 2-minute commercial about yourself.

That will get them talking, and more importantly get you listening. You’re not allowed to interact with commercials after all!

 

QUESTION 2:
You want to know what motivates the applicant. What they’re passionate about, what drives them and whether to not you want that motivation, or lack-there-or- as part of your team.

What’s the proudest moment of your career?

The “career” part is important so it keeps them focused on talking about things that they did at work.

 

QUESTION 3:
You also want to know what the person values in life. So the next question is….

What’s the proudest moment in life?

You’re going to get a very wide array of answers here, but it will give you an idea of who they really are, and will start to let you in on some details that are extremely important, but often not talked about in interviews (children, hobbies etc).

 

QUESTION 4:
Here is my favorite question! This is where you find out how self aware the person is, how open they are, and if they will admit to mistakes and learn from them.

Tell me about a time where you were disappointed in your effort. How did you grow from it?

This is when you need to really use your listening skills, and the power of silence. A vast majority of applicants will struggle with this question at first, but as you stay quiet and force them them to tell the story, you’ll really get to see what level of commitment the have to learning.

 

QUESTION 5:
I like to know about the applicants “hero”. The person that taught them everything they know, and helped shape their life.

Who is a person that has mentored you? What did you take from them, and how do you live that lesson forward?

The reason I like this is because when you know that someone invested in them, they will usually want to pay that forward. By asking about this in the interview you also send the message to them that it’s going to be important to you.

 

QUESTION 6:
When you’re building a team, you can add size by adding followers, or you can multiply effectiveness by adding leaders. I prefer the latter!

Who is a person that you’ve mentored to be a success. Why did you pick them and how did you help them grow?

Leadership is ultra important, and it’s not that you need to hire all leaders, but like the last question, you need to send the message that you expect leadership.

 

QUESTION 7:
This another leadership based question, but more geared towards interacting with the team.

Tell me a story when you rallied the team through a tough time or a lull in productivity.

You’ll know if they can spot tough times or drops in productivity. You’ll know if they give a rip when things grind to a halt, and if they can put on the captains arm band and lead from on the field.

 

QUESTION 8:
Another leadership type question here, more geared to seeing how they interact with others.

Tell me about a conflict that you resolved between co-workers, possibly you and another person, and how did you do it?

In times of conflict emotion runs high and people’s true colors come through a bit. Very often when reliving it the same will happen and they will come out of “interview mode” and you’ll get a good glimpse at their true personality.

 

QUESTION 9:
Having a teammate that will push hard to win is so valuable. You don’t need every teammate to have that love of the grind, but you need plenty of them!

What’s the longest hours you had to put in or a time where you were on a very tight deadline?

What to listen for here is…How important is it for them to win?

 

BONUS!!!

Here’s the question that I wrap my interviews with:
Did they do any research? Did they listen to the whole interview? Is the only thing on their mind the pay rate? Here’s how you answer those questions

OK, your turn to interview me! What do you want to know?

The trick to this question is that you need to ask it in a way that makes them comfortable to ask their questions. You can actually tell them that you’re going to ask this at the beginning of the interview to get them ready for it.

Hiring someone is a huge step and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I hope you’re able to use some of these questions to identify the teammate that you hire on.

-NG

7 Secrets to Get Yourself a Job Interview TOMORROW

Dream Job: Turn your JOB into a CALLING

If you’d like to get a Monday Morning message from me with 3 strategies to prime you for a killer week, then sign up for my free Monday Morning 3 Point Primer.

There’s a myriad of different personalities that you can find at your place of business, but you can always form 2 camps; The ones that would die for the cause, and the ones that are there because that’s where they ended up. The thing that separates them most is that one group loves what they do, and one group does not. The former views their role as a calling, something bigger than the actual job title itself. A great way to make this point is in the difference between, a deli employee and a “Sandwich Artist” or a janitor and a “Master of the Custodial Arts”. Same job, same place, but the role occurs radically different to the ones that find meaning in their work.

Peak performers can exist in both groups, but it’s obvious that the ones that see their job as something special are much more likely to out perform the “clock watchers”. This is because the individuals that view their work as a calling are significantly more satisfied with their jobs, and lives. They’re more engaged in what their doing, leading them to notice things that other’s don’t and go the extra mile doing things others won’t as they embrace the vision of the organization, instead of just checking the boxes in the areas that they are responsible for.

So do you have to luck into your calling, or search it out so you can be happy? Not at all! While that can, and does happen, you can actually craft the role you currently have to experience it as something that is meaningful and satisfying. It’s simple, but does take some courage!

You can add enjoyment to your work by altering how the job occurs to you in your own head. How you think about what the work even is. This concept is the work of Amy Wrzesniewski, a professor of organizational behavior at Yale. The term that she uses to describe it is “cognitive crafting”. Think of it as what you name your title, and what you tell people that you do for a living. Do you say the job title and quote the job description from the HR manual, or do you reply with something almost abstract, and something that you’re damn proud of? An example from professor Wrzesniewski’s study is: I work at a hospital, vs I’m a healer! Consider this a type of litmus test of whether or not someone is currently creating a view of their work that they can enjoy.

A person that does view their role as much more than what the title actually implies will alter the boundaries of the job itself in a way that makes it extremely rewarding. Here’s where that courage comes in. Much of this is actually doing things that can be deemed against the rules. Doing something that is outside your scope of work that adds value to what the company is trying to do. And it doesn’t actually have to be adding, or expanding your workload. It is often more purposeful to trim out, or delegate some of the things that may be defined as “part of the job” but over time you have come to realize aren’t essential to achieving the things that the organization wants done at a high level. It’s not just following the rules, but truly setting out to make a difference in an area that you find passion in pursuing! It’s not just doing what’s asked of you, but crafting it in a way that brings about love and happiness.

A great place to start to find some job crafting opportunities is to use the Pareto Principle, more commonly known as the 80/20 rule. The secret I find is to use it 2 directions, forward and backward…

Forward: What 20% of your actions lead to 80% of your results? What 20% of accounts lead to 80% of revenue? What 20% of products lead to 80% of the sales.

Backward: What 20% of your responsibilities lead to 80% of your problems? What 20% of accounts lead to 80% of your complaints? What 20% of products lead to 80% of workload?

The reason for using it forward and backward is because it can help you focus your efforts on the things that are actually important instead of the things that on appear important. It may be adding something to these areas and expanding how you treat them. It may also be cutting away from the things that don’t cause much positive effect on your area of responsibility. You can then spend the time on the things that matter, bring results, and bring you joy!

Turning your job into a calling will require you to put yourself out there. It will add some risk to your professional life, but it’s an insignificantly small risk compared to the large payoff of loving what you do! To give a little guidance on embracing your vision, and the cause of finding joy and passion in that job, I’m going to leave you with a quote that I love from Tim Ferriss, “Get good at being a trouble maker and saying sorry when you really screw up.”

-NJ

If you’d like to get a Monday Morning message from me with 3 strategies to prime you for a killer week, then sign up for my free Monday Morning 3 Point Primer.