Find your next all-star staffer with these 4 interview topics


There’s no denying that the finance staffers you hire can make a big difference in your company’s overall efficiency and success.

A good hire could spur more cost savings, come up with creative process improvements or boost morale in the office.

Hiring the wrong person can cost your company an estimated $14,900, according to CareerBuilder. Not to mention, a bad hire could also turn into a source of data entry errors, late payment fees or personnel problems.

Those negative consequences are ones your company can’t afford – figuratively and perhaps even literally. So, for Finance and HR, getting the interviewing and hiring process right is extremely important.

Digging deeper

Of course, candidates for your finance department should first be considered based on their experience, skills and education. But to find the right hire, you should also ask questions that show their character. Are they a hard worker, a team player, a go getter? Do they take on challenges or shy away from them?

You can discover more about candidates by addressing these four topics that other business leaders use:

1. Favorite tasks and roles. If a person likes doing something, they’re probably good at it. That’s why you want to ask, “What do you like best about your current job?” Whether their answer is “solving payment issues” or “creating financial reports,” you’ll start to see if they have what you’re looking for and how they’d fit in with your department and company overall.

2. Ideal work style. Some people like to keep their heads down and get the job done, while others favor a bustling office with lots of teamwork. The question “What type of work style do you prefer?” can give you more insight into whether they like working with others or may shrink back in times of collaboration. Since Finance has to cooperate and work well with so many other business units, you want someone who’s open to that.

3. Approach to feedback. It’s important to see if people can spot their own weaknesses and accept fault at times. That’s why it’s beneficial to ask, “What’s the toughest feedback you’ve received?” and “What did you learn from it?”  If the person can provide a good response, it shows they have the ability to listen to even harsh criticism and benefit from it.

4. Workload management. You know finance staff’s workload is not a light one to bear. From paychecks and reimbursements to W-2s and 1099s, there are many duties your staffers have to juggle. And certain times (like the monthly close or year-end) add another layer of high stakes and pressure. The questions “When were you asked to take on too much?” and “How did you respond?” will help you see how much the candidate can take on – and if they can admit when they need a little help. Plus, the second question will demonstrate how they use the resources that are available to them.