SelectOne Blog

How to Interview and Hire Great People, Every Time


Getting promoted into a new role can be both challenging and exciting. There are so many new skills to learn, but one of the most important skills for any aspiring manager is to learn how to interview and hire great people. 

Follow these 5  tips  to establish a seemless hiring process for you.

Be prepared – There is nothing worse from a candidate’s perspective than going into an interview with a person who isn’t prepared, or ready to conduct a thorough, meaningful interview. Just as a good candidate will be prepared for the interview, a good manager should be as well. 

Spend time before the process to identify the type of person you want to hire and the skills needed for that person to be successful. 

Review the applicant’s resume in detail, make note of jobs, job changes, employment gaps and other specific details that will help you generate questions for the interview.

Pay attention to their answers and make notes to follow up if an answer does not align with your expectations.

Outline the process & timeline – Spend some time early in the interview to tell the candidate about the position. Some of the things you may want to discuss are:

  • Why the job is open.
  • What the goals are for the role.
  • How you see the position fitting into your team and organization.
  • How you envision the hiring process moving along.
  • How many steps are in the interview process and who else from the company will be involved.

Giving the candidate this information up front sets the stage for the interview and gives the candidate a clear picture of what to expect throughout the process.

Ask insightful, thought provoking questions – Questions such as: 'Where do you expect your career to be in 5 years?' or 'What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?' are canned interview questions and may limit your ability to learn about a candidate’s drive, ambition, or dedication. Instead, ask questions that are thought provoking and likely to catch the candidate off guard.

For example:

  • Tell me about a time you were tasked with leading a project with a team and a deadline.
  • How did you choose your team?
  • How did you manage them to achieve the goal?
  • What obstacles did you encounter and how did you overcome them?

These questions may provide insight as to how the candidate might actually perform as part of your team. Additionally, ask open ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer, and by all means let the candidate do most of the talking.

A great question I always like to ask is, “Tell me about your greatest life accomplishment.” You may be surprised at the answer.

Assign a homework task – One way to identify high performers is to ask them to perform a task or small project. We’ve recently incorporated this into our hiring process and it has been a great way to differentiate a potential high performer from an average or poor one.

Look for responses that are timely, thorough and insightful. You may love a candidate on the surface but if they present you with a response to a requested project that is less than you would expect from a high performer, make sure you take that into account in your hiring decision.

checklist-1266989_960_720.png – Some of the worst hiring mistakes can be avoided by paying attention to warning signs during the process. Take note of the following:

  • Was the candidate late for the interview?
  • Did they provide complete and meaningful answers?
  • Did they ask insightful questions or any questions at all?
  • Did they send a follow up note?
  • Did they express interest in the job?

The answers to these questions should impact your hiring decision so make sure to pay close attention to these warning signs.

 Hiring great people is hard and at heart an inexact science. Incorporate some of these suggestions into your process and you will improve your chance of hiring great people.


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