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How to Conduct an Interview that Almost Ensures You Hire Model Employees

How to Conduct an Interview that Almost Ensures You Hire Model Employees

The interview process can be just as daunting on the interviewer as it is on the interviewee. After all, the success of your business is in the hands of each and every one of your employees, making it extra stressful when you only have a few minutes to try to determine which person will take your business to higher levels and which one will run it into the ground. Luckily, the way in which you interview can help you quickly ascertain which category the job seeker belongs in. Here are some guidelines to follow that will almost ensure that you hire model employees:

Guideline #1: Ask Open Ended Questions

You’re not going to get a lot of information about a person if all you ask are questions that have a simple one-word answer. However, if you ask open ended questions that require them to put together a complete response, you’re likely to learn a lot more than just what you asked. For instance, I once interviewed a woman for a position at my aunt’s small town bakery. I could have asked her, “Is there anything that would prohibit you from showing up to work on time?” If I had, it is likely that I would have gotten a quick, instinctive “no” answer. However, instead I said, “Could you please give me some examples of things that would prevent you from showing up to work on time.” After she had given me about ten different reasons as to why she would be late, I was convinced she wasn’t the one for the job.

Guideline #2: Have Them Repeat the Job Back to You

Have you ever hired someone only to find out that they never really understood what was expected of them? The best way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is to ask them to explain the job duties and responsibilities back to you at the end of the interview. This allows you to quickly and easily tell whether you’ve provided enough information to give them an accurate picture of what it is you expect from them. It also allows you to clear up any misconceptions before they accept a job that they don’t feel they can do.

Guideline #3: Ask Them Their Weaknesses

As a possible future employer, you certainly want to know what strengths the interviewee could bring to the table, but it is just as detrimental that you know their weaknesses too. If you don’t, you’ll find them out soon enough and then it may be too late. An honest person will most likely offer up 2-3 things that they know they need to improve on to become a model employee, so be weary of the person that says they have no weaknesses. Everyone has their limitations so someone who isn’t willing to share them is either a know-it-all or a liar, neither of which will be the type of person you want onboard your team.

Guideline #4: Watch Their Body Language

Most people know what to say to land a job, but their body language doesn’t always reflect the same thing. It’s like the person who is saying yes but shaking their head no. Which one do you believe? If you want the truth, stick to what their body is telling you. For instance, blinking a lot is a sign of deception and putting their hand over their mouth also indicates that they have something to hide. Learn these types of signs so that you can read the person before you without having to rely on only the words that are coming out of their mouth. The one thing to remember though is that not everyone’s signs are the same, so you have to take the situation as a whole instead of relying on each individual thing you see. Nerves also have a way of making people act differently, so some of their actions may be nothing more than anxiety taking a toll.

Guideline #5: Check Their References

I’ve seen employers hire someone who looked so great on paper that they didn’t even bother to check their references. Unfortunately, all too often, this didn’t turn out too well and they ended up having to rehire for the same position not too far down the road. Take the time to check the references provided to you. Call the persons provided and use your open ended questions to find out as much information as you can. Sometimes things will slip into the conversation, giving you a better idea of the person you’re intending to hire.

Guideline #6: Pay Attention to What They Don’t Say

Although you may be looking for certain words or phrases that will tell you that the person you are interviewing is “the one”, sometimes what isn’t said is more important. Look for partial answers or answers that didn’t really address your question at all. These should be red flags that make you either delve into the issue further or bypass the person all together.

Guideline #7: Trust Your Gut

In the end, you need to trust your gut to tell you whether the person you’re interested in hiring is going to be a good fit for your company. Ignoring your intuition can put you in a bad spot by either letting a model employee slip through the cracks or by hiring someone that you later regret. Hiring model employees takes time and effort, but it is well worth both when you are able to bring someone on board who takes your company to higher levels. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to business success!



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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.