As the manager or owner of a business, one of the tasks that will probably fall to you is hiring staff. It is a process that can bring great stress but if you do it well can also bring great rewards with the right hire.

After writing a killer recruitment ad that attracts a great bunch of people who all want to work for you, it’s time to whittle them down to a select few that you really want to talk to. The short list. Here are 14 questions that will help you. These can be asked using a SurveyMonkey (or something similar) link that you should give to every applicant and the replies come to you in an easy to browse format.

Make sure to have all the prospective employees fill out the survey because although they might not be the right person for the job for which they are applying, they may be perfect for another position in your company and that will be revealed during the survey. If your business is the same as most, you will always be recruiting so don’t miss an opportunity.

Here are the survey points:

  1. Name, contact info?
  2. Last or current job?
  3. Why do you want to leave?
  4. What are your short term goals?
  5. In 3-5 years where do you hope to be?
  6. What are your long terms goals?
  7. How would co-workers describe your work habits and skills?
  8. Tell us the best thing about your last job.
  9. What is your current pay range?
  10. What pay range are you expecting?
  11. What did your favourite employer teach you?
  12. What appeals to you most about this job?
  13. What is your favourite chocolate?
  14. On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you?

So how do you read the results?

If anyone answers lower than 6 or 7 on the happiness scale you can probably pass on that applicant. Likewise, if someone answers their short term goals are to be a stay at home Mom or Dad then you might want to pass on that one too. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just that it might not fit with your long term goal to find a productive member of the staff.

You can also find out lots about their feelings regarding job satisfaction by how they answer question number 3 regarding why they want to leave their current job. If they answer that they hadn’t really thought about leaving, but were so intrigued by the job you are offering that they couldn’t resist applying, then that is probably someone with fairly high job satisfaction. If they reply with a slam on their current boss, raise the red flag.

Questions 9&10 about pay range and expectations may price someone out of your range and you can find out quickly.

Question 13 revealing the favourite chocolate is designed to test their sense of humour. You can change that question to suit your situation or reflect the ad that attracted them in the first place, but somehow you want them to respond.

Being the boss isn’t easy, but adding this survey to your hiring process can save you hours of perusing resumes. The problem with resumes is that you have no way of knowing if it was crafted by the applicant or by outside help. This survey will be written by the person who might be working for you. How do they measure up?