Interviews make most people nervous, however, in many ways, companies and hiring managers have more at stake than the person interviewing for the job. From a financial standpoint, many companies estimate a bad hire can cost a business anywhere from $50,000 to well over 6 digits. That’s a steep price to pay, not to mention loss of time, revenue, and profits for making the wrong decision.

Because much of the hiring process boils down to the interviewing process, it is important to know how to effectively prepare. Here are a few tips to help you get ready to interview a potential new hire.

Know the Position You Are Trying to Fill

One mistake many hiring managers make during the interview process is not really knowing the details of the position they are trying to fill. Updating the job description and knowing what qualities and skills the person you are looking for must have is paramount. You should also have basic knowledge as to what the position will entail on a day-to-day basis, the results you will be expecting and how this person will benefit from a career development standpoint.

Pre-Screen Candidates by Phone

Before asking a potential candidate in for an interview, hop on a quick phone call. Screening for candidates will only take about 15-30 minutes per applicant and it will help you listen for their communication skills, tonality and confidence so you can weed out people who aren’t a good fit early on.

Avoid Common Questions Like These

When you have someone in for an interview, it is a good idea to plan the questions you’d like to ask ahead of time. Definitely don’t “wing it.” However, you also want to avoid those questions that are asked in every interview. For instance, avoid opening the interview with “tell me about yourself.” You should also initially skip over “Why are you leaving your current position?” Lastly, think how you might learn about their income requirements since in many states and cities, it’s illegal to ask for their current salary and past w2’s.

These questions really don’t have much to do with the position you are trying to fill. Instead, ask open-ended questions like, “Tell me about a time you had to deal with a disgruntled customer.” This way, you get an idea of their problem-solving skills and experience all at once. It is also a good idea to prepare some scenario-based questions. For example, if you are looking for a vice-president of sales, you can present them with a problem and ask how they would go about solving it.

Always Ask the Same Questions of Each Interviewee

To get an idea of how your candidates truly stack up against each other, you should always ask each of them the same set of questions. When you do this, you can compare each candidate’s answer and decipher who will be the best fit for the job.

Discuss Your Company’s Brand and Culture

It is always a good idea to also discuss your company’s culture in the first interview. Get a feel for how the candidate feels about the brand and day-to-day work life within the office. If someone works best on their own, for instance, and your company does many group-based projects, they may not be the best fit.

Set Up a Second and Final Personal Interview

In a candidate-driven market with low unemployment, applicants have options and could be interviewing with your competition right now. Make sure you know this person is a good fit for the company and the position and make them feel wanted. Many businesses start the second interview as an opportunity to sell their company prematurely. Candidates, like most people, like to talk, so by asking well thought out questions, you will get a better feel for their skills and “right fit” for your company, before you go into you sales pitch.

Another way to keep the process moving while maintaining your rigorous search process, is to receive feedback from your colleagues by introducing the candidate to a panel of interviewers, as long as they as well versed on the updated position description and know exactly what you are looking for in a new hire. This way, everyone on the team can weigh in on the candidate’s future with the company.

Evaluating candidates using a thoughtful, fact-based and consistent process is a critically important. You should be sure to take plenty of time to prepare for an interview, just like your potential new hire will. Contact us to learn more about how you can best prepare for interviews that land “A” players capable of immediately executing upon your company’s growth strategy.


WorldBridge Partners is an Executive Search Firm that assists companies worldwide in locating and hiring top echelon industry leaders.

We have twelve US locations, an operation in Belgium and over 100 Recruiters providing our clients and candidates with global access to talent.