The Second Interview

Hiring interview

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You’ve looked over his résumé, you’ve done a short phone interview and you’ve conducted your first serious hiring interview with him.

You like what you see so far and you want to bring him back for a second interview. It’s an important position and you want this to be a smart hire.

An interesting scenario may present itself in this second interview.

Both of you are likely to be more comfortable with each other and your applicant may “let his guard down.”

He may feel his chances of getting the job are greatly improved and may come in willing to be more informal, more open with you. He may even dress more casually for the second interview.

With the nervous jitters from the first interview gone, or at least significantly reduced, your applicant may answer your second interview questions more candidly.

A few examples:

“How do you see yourself fitting in here?”

“What would it take for you to be very happy working here?”

“Do you see yourself working here in one year? Five years?”

“Is this job a stepping stone for another job that you envision down the road?”

And of course there are quite a few other questions, many that are covered in previous tips, that can be asked in this second interview.

You may even re-ask a question or two that the first interview addressed, but you felt the answers were a bit rehearsed. The environment of the second interview may give you a new insight to those questions.

All in all, the second interview (and successive ones) can be VERY helpful. In some cases, the person in front of you is a different person than the one you met in the first interview. They are more comfortable, more “themselves” and more capable of helping you make the right decision.

I’d like to give a “hat tip” to David Jensen, whose book The Naked Interview was helpful in putting this tip together.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


How Do They Treat Other People?

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How will your prospective employee treat your customers and other staff?

Will they be friendly, helpful and appreciative?

Or will they be tactless, dispassionate and cynical?

And how can you tell ahead of time?

Well, one can test for personality traits. Our 200 question test will get you past the usual social responses and give you unexpected insights into your prospect’s personality.

So of course I recommend using our test.

But what else can you do?

You could take your applicant around the office or store and introduce him to a few of the staff. Let your staff know ahead of time that you might be doing this and ask them to take a minute or two and “engage” — ask a few questions, maybe even be a bit disarming.

One example might be an employee looking startled that the person is interested in a job there and asking, “Are you sure you want to work here? The boss is a decent chap, but the pay and perks aren’t so great.” Maybe this gets said within earshot of the boss, or maybe not.

A disarming question or two may reveal something about your applicant that you might not otherwise see.

While you’re walking around, observe how your applicant deals with each person they come into contact with, not just your staff. If you use the elevator, does he hold the door open for others; does he acknowledge the existence of the doorman; the receptionist?

Maybe you go out for a coffee — how does he treat the barista?

Whatever interaction you can observe, take it all in and evaluate.

And remember our motto:

The more you know about someone BEFORE you hire them, the better your hiring decision will be.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


How Fanatical Should You Be About Hiring The Right People?

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I’ve written over 150 hiring tips and almost all of them offer advice on “how to” hire someone.

This tip will be a bit different. It will focus more on your viewpoint of hiring.

I realize I’ll be preaching to the choir with many of you, but, well, I enjoy a little preaching here and there.

First, let me read a few quotes from a few CEOs.

From Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks,

“We employ 200,000 people. So I can make the case – and I have for years – that the most important discipline at Starbucks is human resources.”

Kevin Ryan, CEO of Double-Click, a Google subsidiary, realized this about hiring:

“I used to think business was 50 percent having the right people. Now I think it’s 80 percent. The best way to be productive is to have a great team. So I spend more time than most CEOs on human resources.” 

This next one is from Lee Iaccoca, famous for steering Chrysler Automotive away from bankruptcy and into record profits:

“I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way!”

And last but not least, the late Steve Jobs had this view of the importance of hiring:

“I have participated in the hiring of maybe 5,000-plus people in my life. So I take it very seriously.”

Now I understand these quotes are from CEOs of large companies and a good number of you run much smaller businesses.

But, on any scale, just how important is hiring the right person?

I’m thinking 99 out of a 100 of you will say, “It’s very important.”

But for many of us, it’s also a juggling match.

How much time do we spend trying to find the right person juggled with filling the position that needs filling and hoping for the right person the next time.

I know from speaking to many business owners, that part of that thought process includes:

“Is the right person really out there?”

So a fair (or even a large) amount of compromise occurs.

I understand. It’s not easy. And it can be frustrating to cast a net out there and what comes back is not what you really need and want.

So, what to do?

Well, you’re certainly familiar with the following slogans:

– You’ve got to have the right attitude.

– If you have the right frame of mind, anything’s possible.

– Success comes to those who believe.

And there are many others like those.

Now, I’m not here to give you airy-fairy advice, but I do believe if you have a fairly strong conviction to hire the right person AND that that individual IS out there, you have a much better chance of making that happen.

If your conviction along this line has taken a number of “hits” and you’ve accumulated too many losses on wanting, but not getting the right person, then I have this advice for you:

Change your mind.

That’s the one thing ALL of us are extremely capable of doing.

Change your mind.

In a completely new and fresh unit of time, put the correct emphasis on hiring the right person and develop a clean viewpoint that this person IS out there and IS eager to be a part of your team.

As my Jewish mom used to say — when offering chicken soup as the cure for just about anything — “Well, it couldn’t hurt.”

…and, when it comes to hiring, it just might help.

So, feel free to change your mind and determine the right people are out there for you.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


How Would They Handle An Irate Customer?

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This is a great question for those applying for a position that involves regular contact with customers.

But instead of having your applicant simply answer it, why not see how they would actually handle it.

There’s nothing like a live exercise to find out how skilled someone is, right?

So, let’s set the scene:

“Sarah, you’re going to be the store manager in this live exercise. I’ll be Mary, a very upset customer who has just come over to you demanding her money back. She’s loud and you can see she’s having an effect on the other customers in the store.”

And then do your best to give a realistic display of what this irate customer might say and see how Sarah responds.

I understand each store may have their own refund policy, and if you want to briefly describe yours to Sarah to make this exercise more realistic, that’s not a bad idea.

Observing how Sarah would apply a store policy would be helpful, but the main thing you want to see in action are Sarah’s “people skills.” How does Sarah defuse this irate customer so that the other customers aren’t negatively affected AND so that Sarah feels she’s being genuinely attended to.

You could do several versions of this. I would suggest starting off by making it fairly easy for Sarah and then make tougher each time. Maybe you start crying at the end and see how Sarah deals with that.

Just suggestions, folks. The purpose here is to observe your applicant in action and handling what is likely one of the more difficult situations he or she will encounter.

You might learn more about Sarah in 10-15 minutes of this kind of live exercise than you might in hours long interviews without the live exercise.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


Let’s See What You Can Do!

Hiring Show and Tell
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This tip is similar to an earlier one, but I wanted to give it a different spin here.

Let’s give your applicant a very specific assignment and have him carry it out as part of the hiring interview.

A few examples:

Have a customer service candidate review how customers are handled from pre-sale all the way through to fulfillment and follow-up and have the candidate write up how this could be improved.

If someone is applying for the collections position, do a bit of role playing. Have the candidate go down the list and attempt to collect the amounts from you.

Sales is another great position for role playing. Describe a few different selling scenarios and have the candidate take you from start to finish of the sales process.

For some of these, you could even include a time element, say 30 or 60 minutes.

A smiling candidate with a well-rounded résumé is a good start. A candidate who performs right in front of you will take you considerably closer to hiring the right person.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


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