There is a substantial body of material written for candidates applying for jobs and a lot of it is about interviewing. There’s less written for the interviewer. When you are building a group, it’s important to hire the most appropriate people for your jobs. Anyone who has worked in different jobs has worked in some groups that worked better than others. Having the right people on board improves the quality of the work, encourages the group’s functioning smoothly and effectively, makes the work environment more fun, and reduces turnover. I am writing this list from my own experience of more than 30 years in business. During that time, I have both built and worked in groups within a corporate framework. I have also started and operated my own businesses. I hope that the points listed below will support you in improving your interviewing skills and style and in making better hires.

  • Talk to the candidate during the interview; establish a rapport with her. Get to know him, because you may be working together.
    Reread the resume before the candidate arrives for the interview. You might refer to the resume occasionally during the interview, but don’t hide behind the resume.
  • Engage the candidate in a casual conversation but be careful of questions that can get you in legal trouble.
    Asking questions about age, family status and other non-job-related, personal issues can potentially lead to lawsuits.
  • Assess the candidate’s technical skills for the job as quickly as possible.
    If he is capable of handling the job, you can spend your time deciding whether you want to work with him. If her skills aren’t up to the job, you can assess your options: bring the interview to a close; assess whether there is another job in the company that might be appropriate; find another manager who might be interested in speaking with her.
  • Assess the candidate’s personal values for appropriateness for the group.
    You have important questions to answer. The most important one is whether you would want to work with the person you’re interviewing. Beyond that, ask yourself if he will be a positive influence within the group, and whether he will present the kind of image you want both for your group within the company and for the company in the community.
  • Relax and have fun.
    Establish a rapport with the candidate. Put him at ease. Enjoy the process. Just have an interesting conversation. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  • Sell the candidate on yourself, the company and the job.
    You’re always better off if the candidate wants to come to work with you, your group and company. Even if you decide not to hire her, it’s better to leave her with a positive impression than a negative one. She may have a friend, who might be right for your job or another one in the company.
  • Learn about candidate’s career aspirations.
    Where does she want her career to be in a year? Two years? Five years? Will you be able to help her along her chosen career path? If so, it’s a good step toward a match. If you can’t move her career in the direction she wants and you hire her anyway, it can be a source of frustration for everyone.
  • Only promise what you can deliver.
    If you hire a candidate and can’t deliver on promises you made in the interview, you’ll have a good foundation for a disgruntled employee and won’t do your own reputation any good either.
  • Have at least one member of the group, future colleagues, interview the candidate too´┐Żand pay attention to their comments.
    Other people in the group will have different perspectives and they will have to work with the new hire too. Another thing to remember is that future colleagues will often learn things that a future manager won’t. Having other people in your group participate in the hiring process is also good for morale. People develop skills for their future and they feel more of a stake in building the group too. Consider their opinions, but remember that the final decision is yours.
  • Write down your thoughts as soon after the interview as possible.
    Writing your thoughts will help you remember later when your trying to figure out which of the 15 candidates you want to hire. It will also help you months later as you’re supporting your employee. For example, what promises did you make? Or, what career path does she want to follow?

One final point to keep in mind: Don’t hire someone you know isn’t right just because you’re short-handed. If you’re absolutely desperate for people and can’t find the right person for the job, consider hiring a contractor. Hiring the wrong someone just to get a “warm body” into the job can hinder your project, promote group dissention and damage your group’s reputation in the company. In extreme cases, you might even have the unpleasant task of having to correct the situation by firing the person—and then everyone loses.