The facts surrounding someone’s past give us an idea of where they’re coming from. However, their feelings and thoughts about their past experiences can offer a better insight into their make up. Some questions will be oriented towards clarifying past experiences and decisions; others are directed towards revealing their entrepreneurial thinking capacity. Here is a sampling of questions for your consideration. Clearly the full list is endless and varies with each situation. Use this list as a starting point in developing meaningful clarifying questions.

• You’ve had a great career in the xxxxxxx industry, why would you want to leave it?
• Why wouldn’t you want to find another position in the xxxxxxxx industry?
• How important is having benefits to your spouse?
• How would you market if you couldn’t cold/warm call?
• How long do you think it will take to build this business up to the level of income you were making at your last job?
• How would you handle a policyholder who was unhappy about their new rates?
• Why do you think/feel you’ve changed jobs so often?
• What would you do differently in building that business (the prior one from their resume), if you had it to do all over again?
• What are the biggest advantages of being employed?
• What are the biggest advantages of being self-employed?
• What are the greatest drawbacks to being employed? Do you think you’ll be free from those in this opportunity?
• What are the greatest challenges in building a business like this one?

You get the idea. Ask open-ended questions, which naturally lead to further questions. Try to determine whether they are running from something or going to something. In other words are they just fed up with their current or recent employment experience, or have they been planning to find a good business opportunity for some time? Are they becoming their own boss to show their former boss they don’t need him, or are they really committed to being an entrepreneur? Do their answers reflect feelings of being limited in a job environment? Do their answers reflect good insight into themselves? Do they display anger and frustration from their past/present situation, and do those feelings represent a temporary condition until a new job comes along or are they really entrepreneur material?

As you become proficient at questioning, you’ll be able to reveal a candidate’s motivation for considering this career. You’ll make better recruiting decisions and as a consequence have more time to devote to the candidates that will succeed. Having more agents who are likely to succeed will lead to better time management and faster growth.

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Written by Michael Beck, “Head Zookeeper” at , a marketing strategies website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun! Receive a FREE program on recruiting & prospecting success at:
Permission to reprint with full attribution. © 2008 Exceptional Leadership, Inc.