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

Updated on July 31, 2010

In the buying phase of the interview, the candidate should do 80% of the talking and 20% of the listening. You should do 80% of the listening and 20% of the talking, and your talking should be designed to encourage their dialogue.

Keep in mind, if you are interested in this candidate, you can rest assured other companies or organizations are interested in them also. You must convince them of the value of your opportunity.


The selling process begins only when you are interested in hiring a specific candidate. If you are not interested, politely end the interview and move on. Do not invest time in continuing to interview people you are not interested in hiring.

The key aspect of the selling process is to remember anything lightly given is lightly accepted. The candidate must believe that your hiring and performance standards are very high, and that to be selected is an affirmation that they are far above the norm. If they perceive that anyone who just showed up for the interview automatically gets hired, you send a message of laxity, desperation and tolerance for poor performance.

The critical points of selling are:

  • Discover what they want in their next job... and sell it to them. If you listen, they will tell you.
  • Tell them why should they come to work for you. What makes you different? Why is this a worthwhile job?
  • List at least three key benefits they will experience by working for you. These may include exceptional training, challenging experiences, compensation, growth opportunities, etc.
  • Establish performance standards. Challenge them by clearly stating what you expect of them once they are hired, and the consequences of not performing.
  • Identify what will they learn, how their value will be raised?

Guide their post-interview confidence. This is of critical importance because every candidate you hire will have someone to explain or justify their decision to join your company to, perhaps a parent, friend, spouse or mentor. Be sure your candidate is prepared to effectively communicate their decision. If not, someone may talk them out of it.

The 80/20 rule: In the selling phase of the interview, you do 80% of the talking and 20% of the listening. The candidate does 80% of the listening and 20% of the talking.

The Dreadful Interview Traps:

1) Talking too much. During the buying phase, do not dominate the conversation by telling them all about yourself and your company. The only way you can learn about them is listening.

2) Panic Hiring. Hiring just anyone who walks through the door to fill an immediate need is a successful short-term strategy which usually brings a horrendous and very expensive long-term down side.

3) Hiring too quickly. Never hire based on only one interview. Conduct complete interviews. Short-cutting the process always ends up costing you money. See a candidate at least twice before you hire.

4) Hiring in your own image. We all have a tendency to hire people who look like us, think like us, act like us, and talk like us. This is a bad strategy because diversity fosters strength.

Continued in The Basics Of How To Run A Successful Business - Getting A Loan

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