Interviewing New Employees

By Mike Williams

One of the most important things a business owner does to make a great company is hire and keep good employees. Always remember: your company is not the work you do, it is the people who do the work. Your company is your people.

While it is hard enough to hire a good employee, it is many times more difficult to get rid of a bad one. Therefore, it is critical to make sure you hire the best people from the beginning. But how do you do that?

The 3 A’s of Hiring the Best People

1. Aim for the Right Culture

Every organization has a distinctive culture. On a large scale, most company cultures can be placed in one of four types: collaborative (cooperative and family-like), creative (dynamic and entrepreneurial), competitive (result-oriented), or controlling (formalized and structured). Each type of culture is best for different types of work and industries. For example, you want your smartphone company to be creative, but you really don’t want your tax accountant to be that way.

Before you hire new employees, it is imperative that you know your own company culture and that you hire people with a personality and work style that will fit with your company culture.


2. Analyze Compatibility

As you consider C.V.’s, references, and interviews, consider well whether this person will be a good social fit with you, the other employees in your company, your suppliers, and especially your customers and clients. Compatibility is king.

3. Ask the Right Interview Questions

After you’ve looked over the new candidate’s C.V.’s and references and have the candidate pool narrowed down to a few good prospects, it is time to have an interview with the prospective employees. Plan your questions first and plan your questions well.

What kind of questions should you ask?

One excellent way is to ask competency-based questions. These types of questions bring a clear focus to the skills necessary for the particular job the candidate will be doing.

What do these questions look like?

1. They are specific to certain situations that the new employee might encounter:

  • “Please tell me about a time when…”
  • “Please give me an example of…”

2. They are open ended and require deep answers. These questions start with:

  • How?
  • Why?
  • What?

3. Follow up your initial questions with questions that probe deeper:

  • How?
  • Why?
  • What?
  • Tell me more.
  • Give me an example.

Use the 3 A’s of hiring the best people and avoid hiring an employee that you might later regret taking on.

Originally written: January 19, 2017


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