Hiring a Manager

The Interview Process

When interviewing, have the application in front of you and be certain sufficient time is allotted so neither you nor the interviewee is rushed, and no important information is missed. Put the interviewee at ease. Most people looking for a job are, to some extent, nervous during an employment interview, and there are ways of limiting their discomfort. When the interviewee first enters the office, say something like "Make yourself comfortable" or "May I get you a cup of coffee?" Be pleasant and courteous, but avoid too much small talk; it wastes time and can create an atmosphere that works against serious discussion. It can also help break the ice if you do the talking first. Explain what the job is, and describe the company--its business, history and where it's going. Being enthusiastic about your own business is important if you expect your employees to have enthusiasm for it as well.

During the interview, direct the discussion into various channels to find out a much as possible about the person. (But avoid questions about race, children, religion and other potential discrimination landmines.) If not already known, discuss past wages or salaries and expected compensation. Keep salaries in line with the competition--or better, if this can be justified.

If at any point you receive an answer that indicates this is definitely not the person you want to hire, terminate the interview as quickly as possible. You don't have to make a scene, and indeed, it would be bad for you to do so. But you need to have to nerve to say, "Thank you. That's all I have for today. We'll let you know when we make a decision." In this regard, if you do say you'll get back to someone, make sure you do. You can write a two-line letter, and make it as brief as: "This is to inform you that the position of manager for XYZ company has been filled. Thank you for your time and interest in the position."

If you are interested, go ahead and tell that person so. Ask them to think about the job and, if they're interested, to give you a call. Afterwards, study their resume, and if there are any questions or inconsistencies in the resume or references, or if something seems wholly out of line, clarify those issues when they call back about the job.

Never forget that hiring a manager is a much more serious matter than hiring a clerk or a receptionist. This is why on an initial interview you should ask penetrating, specific questions. You should ask questions you need answers to in your own business to see whether what you've learned about your field is consistent with the knowledge the candidate claims to have. Think of some situations that may arise over the next five to six months and ask the candidate very specific questions about how they would take care of that problem. You'll gain a lot of insight about your own business, and rate the candidates at the same time.

Excerpted from The Small Business Encyclopedia

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