Q. I am about to hire my first employee. What are some interview questions I should ask and why? What responses should I expect?
-- Barrett Reed, La.
A: There are many things to consider when transitioning your business from a one-man-band into a "real" company, and employees are at the top of the ladder. Not only do you need to learn how to delegate effectively, but you also must ensure that you are bringing the right people on board in the first place. Hiring is no easy task. Sure, we're in a buyer's market that favors companies looking to hire; however, this abundant candidate pool doesn't make the interview process any easier. If anything, it makes it more difficult.
Here's what I advise: Devise a systematic interview process to make sure that you maximize your time and probability of hiring the right person. I use the same process for vetting employees as I do partners. Remember this mnemonic device: "Don't Consider Letting Worthless Flaky People Try Out." It represents the following seven-item checklist: Dependability, Character, Loyalty, Work Ethic, Finances, Personal Issues and Trust.
Keep all those personality and character traits in mind when determining whether candidates are the right fits for your business. Develop each of your questions to suss out this kind of information.
The answers will help paint a fuller portrait of potential employees. Always ask candidates to elaborate on incomplete responses or non-answers. Most importantly, avoid hiring candidates -- or even continuing interviews -- if any answers sound off alarms in your mind. Hiring isn't about charity. It's about your bottom line.