10 Tips for Hiring the Best

by Allison Lackey

Given this wavering economy, hiring the best employees has never been more important. Companies do not have time for interviewing and training multiple times in search for the perfect new hire. Here are 10 tips to ensure that you are hiring the best, the first time around:


  • Be on time (and don’t leave early!)


It is incredible how many interviewers keep a candidate waiting or cut an interview short for other commitments. This is the most important part of the candidate’s day. Even if the candidate seems like the wrong fit off the bat, give them the benefit of the doubt and continue to ask questions. Some people need a few minutes to get warmed up before they are at their best.


  • Make it conversational


A stiff, formal interrogation will tell you absolutely nothing about a person. If you dish out canned interview questions, you can expect canned responses in return. Be real, candid and conversational throughout the interview to really get to know the candidate.


  • Ask open-ended questions


Open-ended questions ensure a conversational interview. Be intentional with these questions. “Tell me about yourself” is thought to be one of the most popular interview questions of all time. However, what do you hope to learn from that? Instead, try “Tell me about your work experience / career goals / key skills.”


  • Probe for the WHY and the HOW


You already have the “what” information from the resume. The interview is about digging deeper by probing with “why” and “how.” For example:

      • You mentioned that you weren’t originally planning to work in the digital environment. Why not?
      • If you could do your last position over, how would you have done things differently? And why?


  • Identify the candidate’s ideal environment and aspirations


A candidate can be all you’ve ever wanted on paper – but ultimately, they need to be a fit for your work environment. Ask questions like these, but be careful not to “telegraph” ideal answers.

      • Why do you think this position would be right for you?
      • How do you know you’d thrive in this environment?
      • If we were to offer you a job today, what one thing would make you think twice about accepting?


  • Inquire specifically (but appropriately)


If you have a concern about a candidate, address it. Both parties benefit from frankness in a job interview. For example:

“Ashley, based off of your past history in sales, it seems like you had a lot of client interaction and involvement on the front line. I want to be clear that this position will entail more ‘behind the scenes’ duties. I worry that the change of pace may leave you restless. How would you handle this change?”


  • When in doubt, leave it out


There are three criteria to ask yourself about any question you’re unsure if you should ask in an interview: Is it job related? Is my intent positive? Is it fair to all?

Even if you can answer “yes” to all three questions, you should use the guideline “When in doubt, leave it out.”


  • Don’t hire someone like you


It is human nature that we are attracted to people like ourselves. However, 25 cloned employees don’t make a dynamic team. Consider how the candidate will fit into the mix. What is something new the candidate would bring to the table? Does this candidate combat the weaknesses of the team? Look for a complementary skill set in your new hire.


  • Keep the bar high


You may see hundreds of applicants for just ONE job posting. It is important to only consider candidates that are truly exceptional. Consider raw talent versus polish. How teachable is the candidate? Recognize that there is no perfect candidate, either.


  • Trust your gut


Sadly, there is no logarithm to predict whether or not a candidate will work out. Sometimes, you just have to trust your intuition. If your answer isn’t “YES!” to all three of these questions, you better keep looking.

    • Would you want this person to work for you?
    • Would you want to work for this person?
    • Will this person make the organization a better place?

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