Tips For Interviewing Employees for Your Small Business

As a small business owner or manager, when it comes to conducting
good interviews with potential employees, you probably feel like you
already have enough on your plate. Who has the time to learn how to be a
good interviewer when you’re already fully consumed with the day to day
routines at your business? However, this mentality is dangerous: the
twenty or so minutes you spend interviewing a candidate is an important
investment of your time because the employee you choose could
theoretically end up having a huge impact on your business. Therefore,
consider the following few pointers on how to conduct good interviews
that allow you to learn the most about your potential employee:

1. Don’t go into the interview without having actually read the candidate’s resume

We
get it – you’re busy. But nothing reflects more poorly upon you as an
interviewer than looking over the candidate’s resume for what is very
clearly the first time. Even if it is someone else’s job at your
business to select the group of candidates to interview, it is still
your job to spend five minutes taking a good look at the resume and
cover letter of the person they select. After all, it is your business,
so it is up to you to decide whether this employee is qualified to
achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

2. Be prepared

Both
your time and your candidate’s time are of the essence during an
interview. Not only is your schedule most likely packed as a business
owner, but also, your candidate is probably also busier than you
realize. Most candidates take time away from their current jobs or their
busy job hunts to take the time to interview with you – so be
respectful. Along with reading over the resume and cover letter of the
candidate, take some time to prepare detailed and specific questions for
each candidate to make sure they’re perfect for the job.

3. Always check references

There’s
only so much you can learn from a short interview. It is nearly
impossible to present yourself and all your best qualities in the span
of twenty or so minutes, so check references. Your candidates’ former
reference can tell you what you can genuinely expect from the candidate,
including his ups and downs, how he handles pressure, and more.
Although checking references is arguably just as important – if not more
important – than the interview process, keep in mind that references
may be biased. Because the employee was able to decide what name to give
you for reference, it is likely that this reference may give you an
overly-optimistic review of the candidate.

4. Take detailed notes

While
you may think that it’s hard to forget the experience that you had with
each candidate during an in-person interview, you’d be amazed.
Especially when conducting interviews on a daily or weekly basis, you
might realize how your candidates begin to blend together and you can’t
remember who said what. This is why it is crucial to take down every
thought that occurs in your mind during the interview process. It’s only
fair to the candidate and to the rest of your staff that you are able
to give everyone a detailed decision as to why you did or did not select
that employee for the job. It will only make your life easier if you
are able to reference your own notes about each potential employee later
on.

5. Be courteous and friendly

For
small business owners or managers who have always sat in the chair of
the “interviewee,” it may be easy to let it get to your head that you
are finally in the position of the “interviewer.” However, don’t let
this attitude show. It reflects poorly on your business and you don’t
want employees that you turn down to go tell the world that you were
arrogant or mean-spirited during the interview. Use each interview as an
opportunity to practice being professional and practicing your people
skills. It is a craft that every small business owner can continue to
hone throughout his or her career.