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How to Hire the Best People for Your Company

Employer choosing the right people

Hello, this is Naomi Burgess and this post is about Human Capital – more specifically, about how you can determine from an interview whether a person is the best fit for your company.

When you’re first starting a business, it’s very tough to find the people who correspond with your vision of the company and unfortunately, as your company grows, so does the list of the requirements your ideal candidate must meet. Not only do they have to be skilled, knowledgeable and professional, but their values must also match the company’s for a relationship that’s as mutually beneficial as possible. I don’t have the magical formula for hiring the perfect candidates, nor do I recommend seeking one – everyone is different and most candidates that you interview would be likely to bring something to your company. However, there are some tips I can give you that would make your interview process less stressful and would help you find The Candidate.


Competency-based interviews are a relatively new concept, but as I’ve outlined earlier, today it’s necessary to assess other things beside skills and experience – competencies. If you’ve ever been interviewed for a job within the last few years, chances are you’ve been asked questions like “describe a time when you’ve lead a team”, “describe a time when you resolved a conflict”, and the like. And you’ve hopefully spent some time before the interview thinking over the situations you could talk about. Now that you have your own business, your potential candidates are doing the very same thing before they meet with you, so don’t be afraid to embrace these techniques. I know that they can be quite stressful, but they’re an excellent way to get to know a candidate and how he or she would act in certain situations. A good way to answer these kinds of questions is by employing the “STAR” technique, i.e. where you start by giving the Situation and the Task that had to be performed, elaborate on the Actions you’ve taken, and finish with the Result of your Actions. If a candidate employs the STAR technique in their answers, it’s very possible that they’re serious about this job and spent their time preparing for the interview

Each industry and each company are unique, and obviously you’re going to have different interview questions for different positions in your company, but there are some questions that would really provide you with an insight into the candidate. I’ll elaborate on those questions below.

Candidates Notes

For starters, you should always ask each candidate the following question: “Why do you want to work in this company?” Their answer would tell you how well they know your company, and whether they’re actually interested in working for you. A genuine interest in a company is particularly important when you’re hiring people to work in a young company, and when it’s coupled with good industry knowledge, you can be sure that the candidate is promising.

After you’re confident that the candidate is truly interested in the position, you should discuss his or her greatest achievements. Not only would their answer tell you about how self-aware and capable of delivering results they are, but depending on how relevant their answer is to the position they’re interviewing for, it would also help you gauge their interest in the job – the “why” question I talked about above is the “tell” part, whereas the rest of the interview is the “show” part in relation to their interest in the company and the position.

Following the discussion about the candidate’s achievements, I recommend that you ask some questions about their past projects on which they’ve worked in a team. What was their role? What did they contribute? What was the outcome? How did you work together? This is one of those questions where the STAR technique I talked about earlier would work really well. Nowadays, teamwork and collaboration are very important, and you need to make sure that the candidate works well with others, as well as deduce what their role in a team could be.

Another thing you can talk about is leadership skills. Ask the candidate to describe a time when they lead a team, for instance, or shown initiative. If you’re a young company, you would want all the initiative you could get, but even if you’ve been on the market for a few years, it never hurts to have people on the team that can think for themselves and take on responsibilities to work on projects that require additional work. These kinds of question would give you an insight into how candidates can cope with additional responsibilities and spot problems, as well as lead teams towards a common goal.

Employer Notes

As a business owner, I’m sure you understand that running a business isn’t all smooth sailing and that you’re inevitably going to be involved in conflicts at some point. For that reason, you need to know a candidate’s ability to deal with conflict and relate to various kinds of people. A question like “describe a time when you’ve encountered someone who was difficult to work with and how you resolved the issue” would help you assess those abilities. It also wouldn’t hurt to ask them about how they work under pressure, and to provide examples – particularly if it’s a high-level position.

I’ve stressed earlier that there’s no such thing as a perfect candidate, and despite what you might believe, you certainly don’t want someone like that. They might be perfect in some ways, but who’s to say they’re going to fit well in your company? Instead of judging how perfect the candidate is, you should assess how well he or she can learn from their mistakes and whether they’re putting in effort to overcome their weaknesses. Ask them the “what are your main strengths and weaknesses question” and listen carefully to their response. If a candidate says that he’s got no weaknesses, it is a definite red flag. And if they only mention a weakness and stop there, make sure to ask them directly if they’re doing anything to overcome it. If they hesitate or say “No”, you might want to think twice about hiring them – do you really want to work with someone who has no desire to grow and develop? Also, you should ask them to describe a time they’ve made a mistake and how they fixed it. The outcome of the situation doesn’t necessarily have to be 100{71f0b96d7fb9125465257c4beabfd4b54654a6dcc01d6b761d78baf7e14996ab} positive – you’re looking to see whether the candidate can learn and how they deal with difficult situations.

Since there’s no such thing as a perfect candidate, there can’t be such a thing as a perfect interview, either. Firstly, both parties would always be nervous to some degree, so you should keep that in mind. Secondly, no matter how well-prepared a candidate is they would inevitably need some time to think about their answers; don’t be alarmed by this and make sure they know that they’re welcome to take their time. Thirdly, don’t be afraid to prompt them gently and ask for specific examples if you don’t feel that their answers tell you enough. And finally, listen carefully and don’t hesitate to ask a candidate to clarify or paraphrase something if you need to.


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