Interviewing potential hires can be a time-intensive, frustrating process.

You’ve heard the statistics: One bad hourly hire can cost a business up to $7,000, according to The U.S. Labor Department. Hourly employee turnover rates can run more than 110% in many industries. An interview can function as a checkpoint when you’re looking for the right person who will actually stick around.

Ask these three key questions during your next interview for better hires and a higher retention rate of hourly employees.


1. Availability. Scheduling can be the most difficult part of a manager’s job. Try to find employees who are flexible. Ask open ended questions during the interview such as: Do you have any other commitments? Are you available to work weekends? Can you work late nights? What were your hours like at your last job?

If you think there might be a conflict that will limit an applicant’s availability – such as working weekends or mornings or holiday shifts – ask several follow-up questions. Finding applicants who can be flexible can help make building a shift schedule a little easier.


2.Retention. So you put in the hours, train your newest hire, and then they suddenly leave the job. It’s a classic situation. But if you find employees who have a proven track record, you can increase job retention with each new hire. First off, check their application. Find out how long they’ve typically stayed at each job. During the interview, ask questions including: How long did you stay at your last job? Why did you leave? Watch out for applicants who leave positions suddenly due to conflicts with co-workers or former bosses.

Ask about long terms goals too—the classic, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Sure, they might not say “at this job.” But their answers will give you a good idea if this job fits even fits their short-term goals. And who knows? A six-month stint might be the perfect fit for the position you’re looking to fill. Tailor your questions to fit what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate – and to address how long you’d like them to stick around.


3.Conflict resolution. Constructing a good team means finding employees who will get along together. The best applicants are often skilled at conflict resolution. You can find out how applicants fare with conflict resolution by asking questions including: Can you tell me a situation where you resolved a conflict at your last job? Strong applicants will have examples of how they resolved a conflict without upsetting the customer or their fellow employees. Find new hires who can work together efficiently and you’re already on your way to building a great team and work environment.


These three questions are just the beginning of getting to know candidates (and how they’ll fit on your team) a little better during the interview process. Starting with great questions can help you end up with the right-fit people.