When interviewing candidates for employment there are a few job interview questions and techniques that are vital to remember. This article looks at how to interview to get the very best employees. Your goal is to hire the best, those with great character. If you do, employee retention won’t be a problem.

Being Purposeful in Your Job Interview

I believe that you should hire character and attitude first and skills second. If you believe that to be true, then you must show up at the interview knowing the character traits you want to find, as you ask each of your interview questions.

How to Interview With a Purpose

A successful job interview is a two way street. There are things you must learn about the candidate from the job interview questions you ask and there are things the candidate must learn about you, your organization, and the other employees. This will help them to see if this job is right for them too. Employee retention is the goal. It’s costly to always be hiring and firing.

It is important when hiring employees to communicate well not only what the job involves but also what the culture of your business is, what the key character traits are, and walk them through an average day. They need to have a complete understanding of what your business is about.

Let Your Current Employees Help!

Let the candidate interview with one of your employees in addition to yourself. They can find out whether this job will fit them by spending time with a current employee and learning about your culture. They’ll often ask them questions they would never ask you. You don’t want to hire someone who won’t fit in. It wastes your time and theirs.

Measure Twice!

Here is a job interview tip that is just good old common sense. The wise old carpenter says: measure twice, cut once. This also works really well when recruiting employees. Interview twice, hire once!

I highly recommend that during the hiring process you always give a second interview to any candidate worth considering. Never make a hiring decision on the spot at the first interview. Interviews make people nervous and while one person might perform exceptionally well during the first interview another may not and that second interview might yield entirely different results.

Interviewing employees twice helps the candidate to be less nervous and gives you a better idea who they really are. Look at the results and answers from both employee interviews to figure out who is the best candidate for each job.

It is better to have another employee involved in the first job interview. When the qualified prospect attends the second job interview they are often more comfortable and have thought of other questions. Answering their job interview questions will help both of you and get the best hiring decision. It’s not just your job interview questions that matter, it’s also the prospective employee’s.

Remember though, no matter how good of a job interview you do, you won’t really know how it works out until the person is on the job working with you.

I remember an employee we brought onboard years ago. Three people interviewed her and she seemed like a wonderful choice. Her first day with us shocked us all. We surely must have interviewed her identical twin sister. The employee who showed up for work was absolutely not like the one we interviewed!

The lesson: some can easily and comfortably handle your job interview questions. Some will be nervous and struggle. Your best source of information is prior employers, preferably two jobs back (the current employer might lie just to get rid of them!) It’s an wonderful way to obtain key information and to avoid a bad surprise. Do it right. Take your time. Interviewing employees is at least as much an art as a skill. Keep after at it and you’ll do great.


by Steven Schlagel – June 2, 2009