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Archive for July 5th, 2012

The Right Questions to Ask When Hiring

July 5th, 2012 COMMENTS

A Good Interview is More about Conversation

Ordinarily, I dismiss articles about hiring tips, mainly because they are either simplistic, silly, impractical, or inane. This one by The New York Times contributing writer Adriana Gardella makes perfect sense. Adriana’s post appears in the The NY Times “Your the Boss” section, The Art of Running a Small Business.

At Classic Exhibits, for administrative, sales, and management positions, we always conduct the first interview over the phone. It’s usually a short interview, typically about 20 minutes. Phone interviews save us time and allow us to focus on the person and personality.

We almost always begin with the following statement:  “We’ve had a chance to review your resume, but we want to give you an opportunity to tell us about yourself. Share whatever you think is important and take as much time as you need.” By not giving them any clues or doing all the chatting in the beginning, the interviewee has no point of reference. They can not parrot any answers because you haven’t given them anything to parrot. Some candidates use the opportunity to sell themselves, others merely repeat their resume, and still others panic and say very little or reveal information they probably shouldn’t. It’s always a little unpredictable, and even when they are invited for a face-to-face interview, the same question invariable elicits the same response. And, they know it’s coming.

In the end, I agree wholeheartedly with this quote in the article:  “A good interview is more about conversation,” said Deirdre Lord, who owns The Megawatt Hour. “There’s a chemistry.” As a boss of mine once said, “You hire people for what they know. You fire them for who they are.” Good interviews give you the chance to find out who they are.

The first two paragraphs of the article are below. Click here to read the full posting.

In a perfect world, owners would only hire employees who care as much about the company as they do. But as the members of the She Owns It business group recently discussed, it can be hard to find motivated workers who share that enthusiasm. Alexandra Mayzler, who owns Thinking Caps Tutoring, said she had become pretty good at spotting the keepers during the interview process. You just have to know what to ask and listen to the answers.”

“Ms. Mayzler, who majored in psychology during college and describes herself as an ‘armchair psychologist,’ said it was easy enough for a smart person to figure out what the interviewer wants to hear and answer accordingly. Viewing the interview process as a decision tree, she said that one of her first questions was typically, ‘Did you go on our Web site?’”

–Mel White


Based in Portland, Oregon, Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, and custom-hybrid exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100.