As your business is reopening from the Pandemic shut-down you may find it difficult to hire the employees you need.

In many cases, the additional $600.00 in Federal unemployment, combined with the state unemployment, made it more advantageous for employees to stay home rather than go to work. And many candidates readily accepted that “new norm” and either stopped looking for work or declined job offers until it ran out on July 31, 2020.

So, how do you know when you’re recruiting if someone declined offers in favor of staying home. The short answer is – you ask. While we’ve been conditioned to stay away from “illegal” interview questions, asking pertinent job-related questions is NOT illegal and is even encouraged. The trick is to figure out what you really want to know and then ask it in a legal way. Following the Pandemic, key questions to consider adding to your interview include:

  1. Give me an example of how you spent your time while laid off. How did you continue to remain current and relevant?
  2. Did you turn down employment offers to remain on unemployment?
  3. What made you decide to return to work now?

Candidate responses to the questions are key to gaining insight into their work ethic, motivation and even long-term commitment. When evaluating candidate responses to these questions, according to Lori Bumgarner founder of paNASH, a Nashville, TN based Passion and Career Coach, look for the following in their responses:

  • Honesty
  • Results
  • Their Story

Honesty – Results – Many candidates have “hustle” and no matter what their situation they make lemonade out of lemons and seek to grow even during hard times. Do their responses signal hustle or were they, as Lori puts it, “sitting on the couch eating chips and watching Tiger King on Netflix”? If they were sitting on the couch, you will likely find them doing just enough to get by on the job.

Results – did they “sharpen the saw” during the time they spent on layoff or furlough? In other words, did they learn new skills, hone current skills or help others who were less fortunate? Their responses give you insight into their motivations and indicate how they will approach work in your organization.

Their Story – Do they have a “story” to tell and does that story indicate a good match for your company or does it indicate you should proceed with caution? Does their story set them apart and make them memorable? Does it indicate they will be loyal and hard working? Asking “behavioral based interview questions ensures you get the “story”.

While it’s tempting to stay home, especially if you can make more on unemployment than when actually working, as a leader it’s critical to weed out candidates that only look at your position as a job rather than a career opportunity.

Interested in other probing interview questions? Check out what Silent Partner Marketing uses here.