I'm hiring a new Admin after promoting the last one, (thanks MT) and one of the things our office needs is someone who will notice AND correct the small things -

like updating the bulletin board so there are no outdated notices, keeping filing up to date & archived neatly, noticing how an "old" report was formatted and either doing the new one exactly the same or (better) improving on it.

I know "what" I want the person to do, but how do I interview for it?  Customer service questions are easy!  This is a far more important skill but my success rate is about 1:4.  I


Can someone suggest either a question or the types of behaviours to look for in a person who will be the detail focused & fix it person we need? (I have great success in hiring for detail focused, it its the "fix it" part I keep messing up)

falkb's picture

How about devising a small test (simulation)? For example, you could give candidates a short memo that needs some fixing (spelling, formatting, language), and leave them alone with a notebook for 5-10 minutes to fix that memo.

Falk Bruegmann

enlightened_managing's picture

From what I hear you want somebody who's more detail oriented than big picture, and somebody who's good at following procedures and recipes and doing things the right way consistently and is great at following through, as opposed to somebody who's always trying to come up with new options.

Ask "Why did you choose to become an admin?" and close your mouth.

You want to

1) Hear a story EX: "Well I was 19years old and my mom's best friend is an admin and she knew that I....
In this instance they're telling you how it came about

The person you're looking for should NOT answer with a list of criteria (what's important to them): Because it gives me a lot of opportunity and because I'm very good at staying organized...
In this instance they're telling you why being an admin is important to them.

2) The story (and everything else they tell you) should be detailed, step-by-step / chronological order / not random. Lots of adverbs, adjectives & modifiers. Dates, proper nouns names. 

Here's another one: "what's the right way to do task X"

1) They give you a detailed step by step answer. There is a right vs a wrong way!

2) Emphasis "the right way" & observe how they react (body language, facial expression - even a small & fast twitch can be telling). You want them to have a good reaction.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want the best way to get this done connect with me on linkedin & I'll be happy to give you more options.

Ohh & congratulations :D



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enlightened_managing's picture

And I'm not sure what you mean when you say "fix it person"

Some people are very goal focused, sometimes so much so that they don't notice all the traps they're stepping on.

Others are motivated by motiving away from problems, sometimes so much so that they don't know where're they're going (figuratively).

There are certain questions to assess for this, but first I need to know how important this specific criteria is for you.



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acao162's picture

When I say "fix it" I mean that a person will notice a problem & correct it, without being told.  For example, if you are filing and notice a document in the wrong place, I want a person who will pull the document & put it away properly, not tell me that it is was filed wrong.  Or, if there are mistakes in a mailing, I want the person to see them, make the corrections, submit it for a new approval (to ensure the intent is not changed), not mail it anyway & say "oh, well I thought that's how you wanted it to look"

I've had a couple of hires who are really decent at seeing mistakes but either can't or won't just fix the problem.  I'm not asking them to correct the annual financial statement, but if the bulletin board has old notices, pull them down.  Or, if you find a change that needs to be made to a client file (address, title number), make the change.

I appreciate the questions and responses Gabriel.  That is exactly where i was getting stuck.

acao162's picture

I conducted interviews yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by the variety of answers that I received to "Tell me about the right way to do the filing"

It was a great question & really showed me how people think, whether they are clean-desk or stackers (I actually don't care, just like to know), how they think through a project etc. 

I have 3 excellent candidates, waiting to hear from my top choice and my 2nd choice would be a clear winner too.

Thanks for your help!