Interview Techniques

Interview Skills for Employers / Managers

by Jeff Hastings, LUTCF

The key to small business success lies within your ability to attract and retain high quality people and teach them the right things to do. No matter how good you are at interviewing, you can increase your odds in hiring by creating a system of recruiting, interviewing, and selecting the right person for the right position. On the contrary, hiring the wrong person can have a devastating affect on your overall performance and office morale.

The purpose of this article is to give you a few ideas in developing a system that will improve the consistency of hiring quality people who have both the ability and desire to do the job.

One of the key things I have learned during the past nine years of interviewing and hiring sales professionals and employees is that no matter how good I am or how much service I provide, the most successful people would have been successful with or without me.

Take a moment to look back at the people you have recruited. What characteristics set the great employees apart from the not so great? I have found that the best people have one characteristic in common. The great ones all have a burning desire to succeed.

This internal passion to succeed makes great employees unique. You must find a way to spot this talent from the first meeting, looking for inherent characteristics that will help you predict future success and behavior patterns. Here are some qualities you should look for:

  • Is the candidate competitive?
  • Does the candidate demonstrate the desire and drive to become highly successful?
  • Does the candidate have the skills to complete the tasks required?
  • Does the candidate believe in the products you sell?
  • What is the candidate’s attitude toward authority and taking instruction?
  • How well will your candidate fit in with your office culture?
  • Are they leaving their prior employer in good standing or are they running from a bad situation?

The following questions should be asked in every interview and are effective in developing your interviewing skills. Learn to be a casual interrogator. Take notes. Use open ended questions and look for red flags indicating potential problems. Talk ten percent and listen ninety.

1. Tell me a little about yourself and why you have chosen to interview for this position today.

2. Tell me about your last employer?

3. If I were to contact your supervisor, what would he/she tell me about your on-the-job performance?

4. How effective was the training program provided by your previous employer?

5. How did you contribute to the overall success of your previous company?

6. Tell me about the most difficult challenge you had to overcome and how you handled it.

7. What did you like most about your previous employer?

8. What did you like least about your previous employer?

9. Tell me about a time that you disagreed with the decision made by your last manager and how you handled it.

10. Do you work better independently or on a team?

11. Have you ever worked on a team to achieve a common task? If so, please tell me about it.

12. What are you most proud of in your life?

13. What would you consider to be your strengths?

14. What would you consider to be your weaknesses?

15. What are you looking for in a career?

16. Where would you like to be professionally 5-years from now?

17. What hours did you work during your last position?

18. Describe a normal day for you.

19. How often were you late in going to the office during the last __ years?

20. How often did you stay late or go in early to get your job done?

21. Are you available to work after hours or on the weekend if needed?

22. What part of this job do you think you would enjoy the most?

23. Are is there anything that we have not discussed that I need to know about you before I consider you for this position?

Remember to ask the question, and then question the answer. Be a casual interrogator, not a professional visitor. The cost of hiring mistakes in this part of your business is too high.

A few key points to remember:

 Take your time when hiring and fire quickly.

 Develop a pay scale that motivates your employee to perform at their highest level.

 Interview AT LEAST 6-7 people to hire one.

 Conduct 3 interviews before you make your final decision.

Good luck!

Jeffrey L. Hastings


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