How do I Make Sure I Hire the Right Person?

Updated 11/7/14

Interviewing requires a balance of intuition, psychology, leadership, common sense, and luck. We need to think like a detective to determine not only if the person is a fit, but also figure out what they may not be telling us.Hiring checklist

Before you advertise for the position, make sure you know what job you are filling. Has the job description changed or expanded since the last person filled it? What are the responsibilities, expectations, standards, required skills, and required attitudes for this position? Who would be the primary contacts for this person? What kind of attributes and traits do you want them to have? What type of personality would be the best fit?

If you haven’t worked in this position, talk with those who have been successful doing this job. Talk with those who interact with this position to see if anything should be added/deleted from the job description before you fill it. Get suggestions about duties, expectations, and standards.

Create interview questions from your lists. A few ideas:

  • Ask about their previous jobs (what did they expect, like, dislike, wish they could have changed.) Listen for complaints about bosses, unmet expectations, or dislikes of jobs for which you are hiring.

(Note: Be careful about ‘feeding’ them the answers you seek. If you say, “We are looking for an energetic, organized person who can do x, y,and z” You can expect them to say, “I am an energetic, organized person who can do x, y,and z.”)

  • Ask how others viewed them in previous jobs … bosses, co-workers, customers… it’s amazing what people will tell you. Listen carefully for what is said and not said.
  • Ask about their goals. Can your organization fulfill those aspirations? Will you be able to keep this person motivated if they don’t see possibility for learning and growth with you? Are you hiring for the long term, or will you be satisfied if they only stay a year or less? If you are looking for a long term employee and it’s clear they aren’t looking for the same, decide if you can live with turnover and more interviews in 6 months to a year

A word of advice: Don’t talk about the company’s plans, and don’t try to sell them on your company until you know you want them on your team. If you disclose too much in an initial interview and then don’t hire them, they may get hired by your competition. Result? You have just told your competition how to compete against you.

Have a great weekend!


Note- this was originally posted in 2007.
This is an updated version of this ever-current conversation on employment.

@ 2007-2014 Beth Terry, CSP • All Rights Reserved

About Beth Terry

Beth Terry, CSP, is a speaker, coach, writer and cowgirl. Her audiences are from around the world: she has spoken to almost half a million people in 6 countries. Her passion is watching the "popcorn popper" go off in people's heads when they 'get it.'

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