Hiring Strategies

Keeping Things Consistent

"The insurance industry has a lot of prescribed qualification tests for agents, but it doesn't have a standard for interviewing potential hires," says Dave Sherman, president of Midland Insurance Group in Winsted, Minnesota. "As a result, it's easy to get off track. Trying to make sense out of rambling interview notes in order to prove every applicant got an equal opportunity becomes nearly impossible. The result is chaos. We've learned that following a script is an essential part of our selection process."

Before you schedule your next interview, script the job-related questions you will ask--then stick to the script. What you ask in this face-to-face meeting can make the difference between winning and losing a discrimination lawsuit. To follow a consistent interview process, make sure each applicant is asked exactly the same questions.

When you start asking your applicants interview questions, be sure you can defend why you need to know the answers. How will each question help you select someone who can perform the work better than another? Keep notes of every interview, including questions, answers and personal observations. Your records of the interview process may become evidence that can help or hurt you. Bear in mind that lack of documentation is no defense in an expensive lawsuit alleging discriminatory hiring practices.

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This article was originally published in the November 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hiring Strategies.

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