By Forest Balderson January 1, 2011

Interview I.Q.

Lisa Krouse

Senior vice president, Human Resources and Support Service, FCCI Insurance Group

I ask prospective employees to tell me about a time when he or she demonstrated appreciation for a co-worker. Often times, interviewees are prepared for the technical aspect of a position, but it really is about making a cultural fit. One’s behavior will make the difference between someone who meets expectations and someone who consistently exceeds them. I look for someone who recognizes that collaboration and teamwork is critical to the success of an organization. At FCCI, we always like to say that every transaction counts, and how they treat their co-workers is how they are going to treat our customers.


Rick Nerenhausen

Sales manager, LexJet Corporation

Quite often, I will ask a prospective employee to tell me how he or she grew up, and what brought them to the table today. It’s a very open-ended question that allows the interviewee to be as personal or as generic as they want. In a sales position you need drive and fire, and sometimes it can be discovered through childhood sports or role models they idolized. They will need to compete with themselves, our other salespeople and our competition; that has to come from within. At LexJet, we look for a person with heart and character; we can teach them everything else.


Ronni Blumenthal

Vice president of administration, Global Organic Specialty Source

The skills are on the resume. We want to see who that person is going to be after the sheen of being the new person wears off. Asking the interviewee to tell me about the last time they were angry can spark deep personal emotion. One guy had spittle coming out of his mouth and bulging eyes when he talked about his ex-wife. We’re looking for how they’re going to handle frustrating or stressful situations—if they can let it go and move on. If you asked me the last time I was angry, I would say four hours ago when I got my adolescent off to school. I had to go back and say, “I’m sorry. Next time will you try to be ready?”


Alex Miller

CEO, Mercedes Medical

A good question to ask is, “If I could get a collective opinion from all of the people in your life—let’s say peers, colleagues, bosses and family—what is the one consistent thing they would say about you?” This gives a sense of who they are as a core person.

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