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The Basics Of How To Run A Successful Business - Interviewing

Updated on July 31, 2010

In your quest to improve your hiring skills, there are three components you must be aware of in the interviewing process: Planning, buying and selling.


Frequently overworked or de-emphasized, planning is the activity you engage in before the interviewing process begins. You must pre-determine the levels of skills, traits and abilities that the people you hire must have.

There are three essential skill groups to assess:

  • Technical skills: The technical competency to do the job. This includes physical and mental aptitude.
  • People/relational skills: The abilities to interact with others, including: willingness to take direction, customer service skills, communication skills, the ability to get along with others, and the skills to work in an interactive team environment.
  • Organizational skills: The ability to work in a productive, organized, efficient manner. These skills include the ability to sequence work in a logical process, planning, prioritizing, and keeping accurate records.

Prior to beginning the interviewing process, you must determine: What specific skills are essential to success? Is this a must-have skill that the candidate must possess before hiring? Is this a skill that you are willing and able to train effectively in the short-term? Is this a skill that you are willing and able to coach long-term?

Whenever possible hire people skills and train the technical and organizational skills.

When you actually begin the interview process, implement a two-phase structured interview. In the first phase, you are buying; actually considering whether or not you want to consider this candidate as a possible hire. In the second phase, you are selling; attempting to convince the candidate that your potential opportunity to good for them.

To begin the interview, start with an introduction to give your own credentials and to put the candidate at ease. Then explain the hiring process such as how long it will take, how many interviews will be conducted, others they will be talking to, and the skills and abilities they may be asked to demonstrate. Finally, establish time lines to explain when the candidate can expect a final decision on a starting date if selected and any deadlines for providing necessary documentation.

The Role Of The Questions In The Interview Process

1) Pre-plan: What do you want to know about the candidate? Typically, areas to be probed include adaptability/willingness to change, flexibility, competence/experience, manageability, interpersonal skills, attitude, initiative, maturity, emotional control/ability to handle pressure.

2) Use open-ended questions: Questions designed to elicit a wordy response. Avoid questions that can be answered with one or two words. Typical open-ended questions begin with Tell me about ... What do you think about ... How would you handle... Explain how / why you would ...

3) Identify relevant experience and past performance: Encourage the candidate to give you specific examples of how they have demonstrated the skills, abilities and willingness that you are looking for in their past working experience.

If you are looking for customer service skills, ask them to give you examples of previous positive customer service experiences. If you are looking for someone to function well under pressure, ask them to give you examples of when they have handled a crisis situation. If you are looking for someone who will take initiative, ask them to give you an example of when they have gone above and beyond to take a risk and solved a problem.

Continued in The Basics Of How To Run A Successful Business - The 80/20 Rule

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