Interviewing tips for entrepreneurs

Hiring your first employee (or employees) is an exciting time! However, many entrepreneurs worry about making the interviewing process a success. What do you need to include or keep in mind? Here are some tips:

  • Try to decide beforehand how many candidates you’d like to have before beginning the interview process.
  • When it’s time to begin the interview process, screen the candidates carefully. Only contact the candidates that you truly feel would be a good fit for the job.
  • Ask each candidate to provide work references from past employers.
  • Review resumés carefully before each interview, making note of the specific questions you’d like to ask each candidate.
  • It’s also a good idea to go over the job description before beginning interviews to remind yourself of the skills and qualities that you’re looking for.
  • Set reasonable time limits for each interview to be sure that your own workday won’t be cut short and you won’t keep other candidates waiting.
  • Have a list of general questions prepared so that you can easily compare the results of each potential employee once the interviews are over.
  • Don’t settle for short or vague answers. If you want more details about an interviewee’s answer — such as their strengths or a previous accomplishment — ask!
  • Take notes throughout each interview so that you can refer back to them at the end of the interview process.
  • Remember: the interviewee is also deciding on whether or not this is a company that they would like to work for. Dress for the occasion and hold the interview in an appropriate environment.
  • Listen carefully and avoid doing too much of the talking during this precious time with the candidate.
  • Try to get a good understanding of the potential employee’s personality and gauge how they may fit in with the current corporate culture.
  • If necessary, have business partners or shareholders sit in on the interviews to help provide feedback on each candidate. Hold a decision-making meeting with those who attended interviews, or with anyone else in the business that might have valuable opinions and input, to help you make the final decision.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact references to hear another person’s perspective on the quality of work and work ethic that this candidate possesses.
  • Hold second or third interviews if you’re still having trouble making your decision.

When you’ve made your decision about who to hire, you may want to consider hiring for a probationary period to see how things work out. Either way, develop an employment contract to be signed by each party. When you bring the new employee or employees into the workplace, be sure to make them feel welcome and make every effort to include them in the corporate culture, like inviting them out with the other staff members on your Friday lunches at the nearby restaurant. You should also contact other candidates that you will not be hiring and thank them for their time — this lets them move on with their job search and it also heightens your company’s professional reputation.

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