In This Episode

So have you run out of siblings, cousins, aunts, friends, and neighbors to hire?  How do you find the best people?  Perhaps more importantly, how do you screen and interview people so you don’t waste a bunch of time with people who aren’t going to be a good fit for your organization?

Our show today focuses on the interview process with a particular focus on the initial phone screening/interview since that is the gateway to a more formal interviewing process.  This means you’ve gone through the effort to create a job description for this new potential hire so it’s clear what this person is going to be doing.  And it means you’ve gotten some candidates to apply whether it be through some online job postings or email or some other fashion.  So now you’re preparing for that moment of truth when you’ll have your first interaction with a candidate on a phone screening.

Like many things in life and business, it helps to keep things simple.  When it comes to hiring, there are three key things you will want to focus on:

  • Skills: what skills are required for someone to be able to perform this role? Which skills are non-negotiable and which ones would be nice to have but aren’t a requirement?
  • Experience: closely related, but different from the skills is the person’s experience. It’s typically helpful to have a minimum amount of experience in mind.  This could be experience in general vs. experience in a similar role.  Perhaps you don’t want someone with too much experience because that means they’ll have to “unlearn” a bunch of stuff.
  • Intangibles: this can be one that people forget about or don’t put as much weight on as the Skills and Experience buckets, often to their detriment. Things like attitude are important intangibles.  Your gut instincts are pretty important at this stage so be sure to pay attention to them.  If the person you’re talking with doesn’t seem like a fit even though you can’t place your finger on why, listen to your gut.  There are other folks out there who will be a better fit.

We suggest keeping your initial phone screenings to 10-15 minutes.  The purpose of an initial call like this is to give yourself a few minutes to chat with the candidate about the role and expectations as well as give them a little detail about your company.  Then you want to get them talking.  It should be about a 70%/30% split with the candidate talking about 70% of the time.  So in a 15 minute call that means you talk for a total of less than 5 minutes.

Keep in mind that the entire purpose of the initial phone screening is to decide whether you want to invite this person in for a face-to-face interview that will likely last between 30-60 minutes.  You’ll want to cobble together a handful of questions to ask each candidate and you’ll want to be sure to ask each candidate the same questions.  This initial screening process on the phone is a key aspect to finding the best employees.  If done well, it will also save you a lot of time and frustration from spending time talking with all the wrong people.

We also revealed a couple of dirty secrets toward the end of the show that can be beneficial in this process.  One is to have a discussion with the candidate around the word success.  Ask the candidate about successes they’ve experienced and how they define success.  Let’s see what they share with you from either a professional or personal success story.  A second dirty secret is to not turn someone away because they are “overqualified.”  Listen to the show to find out why!

People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show