How to Do a Hiring Screen Interview

I got lots of comments from last week’s job interview questions, so I thought I’d write about how to do a screening interview.  If you have a candidate that you think you might want to hire but aren’t sure, here are suggestions.

What to ask

  1. What are you really good at doing and want to do more of? Examples?
  2. What are you not great at doing and should do less of? Examples?
    • Note – People everywhere dodge this questions with sandbag responses like:
      • I care too much
      • I take work home with me
      • I’m poor at… giving up!
    • If they can’t think of anything, ask them, “I’m not trying to find out if you have areas of weakness, because – like all of us – you do; I’m asking to see if you have self-awareness and know what your weaknesses are.”  This usually gets them talking.
  3. How will your last 3-5 bosses rate you out of 10 WHEN I call them for reference checks (if we get that far). Go back no more than about 10 years.
    • Note – When people believe you’re going to actually speak with past bosses, they get much more honest with you
  4. What are your career goals?
  5. Why are you leaving?  Or, if they’ve already left, “Why us?”

Another great strategy is to ask them to show up onsite for a 10 minute “meet and greet.”  If they feel like a fit when you meet them, take more time.  If not, you’re not on the hook to play charades with someone that you know right off the bat you aren’t interested in; they were only counting on 10 minutes anyway.

This screen will take 5-25 minutes, depending on the role.  If you’re hiring for a quick-serve restaurant employee, the screen works.  If you’re hiring for a CEO, it works too.

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