08 Jun 2022

Most Effective Interview Techniques

This article will guide hiring managers through the interview process.  Many of our clients are founders of small, early-stage companies, and hiring is something that they do not have much experience with.

The interviewer should spend 10 to 15 minutes discussing the position with the candidate. This step is especially essential if the candidate is passive and is not aggressively looking for a new opportunity or if your company does not have many employees and this is one of your first hires.

This step ensures the candidates are interested in considering working for your company.

The next step is to start determining if the candidate is a good fit for the position you are hiring.

The best candidate is doing the same job for a similar company. An equal company means they are selling a similar product for a company that is the same size as your company.


 Ask the candidate questions about their current job responsibilities, the size of their company, reporting structure, how much autonomy they have, and company culture.   The closer to an exact match, the easier for them to transition to your company.

If they are a close match to the above criteria, then determine how effective they are in their current position.

Ask them what their most significant achievements have been in their current role. Obtain specific examples and then spend time probing to understand how vital each achievement was.

Make sure to quantify their successes. Avoid letting the candidate be vague when discussing their accomplishments. For example, if a candidate claims they have increased productivity, probe to determine the actual results.  Was there increased output as a result of the changes? If so, how much?   Did they increase production by 15%, generating $1,000,000 in annual profit? Or did they maintain the same production levels but did so with $400,000 in labor savings per year?

Drill into their involvement in the accomplishment.  Did the candidate lead the project, or was someone else the lead?

Also, determine what resources are available for them to achieve their goals. If the candidate works for a large company, they may have a large support team that helps them.  Small companies will not have the same support staff, so you must determine if the candidate can be successful with limited resources. This scenario doesn't mean the candidate couldn't be successful working for a smaller company, but you would need more evidence of how well they work with limited resources.

Early-stage companies do not have the luxury of hiring candidates who do not have the appropriate experience.  Larger companies have the resources to train new employees and do not require new employees to contribute immediately.

Here is a summary that can be useful as an interview template: 

Download The Template Here

Interview outline


Give the candidate an overview of the position and the company. Also, provide the candidate with an overview of your background and role with the company.

 Assessing Experience 

  • Ask the candidate about their current job responsibilities
  • Ask the candidate about the size of their current company and the resources they have available to
  • Ask the candidate about their most significant achievements in their current position.
  • Probe to understand more about their significant accomplishments
  • Quantitate the results. Did they save the company money?   Or did they make the company money
  • Determine the level of their involvement.

o   Did they lead the project?

o   Was the project their idea?

o   How long did it take them to achieve the desired results?


Accessing Intrinsic Skills and Cultural Fit


What intrinsic skills do you need and desire to accomplish the job and fit into your company culture?  If you don't have proven or established processes, you may want a creative person. Someone who can assess the current situation and develop a novel approach to achieve the desired results.  Or maybe you are so busy that you want someone self-motivated and desires autonomy. They do not ask for permission—they make things happen.


Other skills that might be of interest to you: 

  •         Work Ethics
  •         Persistence
  •         Independent
  •         Team Player  


How do you determine if a candidate possesses the desired intrinsic values?

One of the most effective techniques is to ask behavioral questions.   Here is an example of how to evaluate creativity:

"John, tell me about a time when you had to use a novel approach to achieve the desired result?"

Listen carefully to their answers and determine their level of the desired skill. Also, ask additional questions to clarify their answer.

John’s answer:

“I was trying to win a new client that has never done business with my company. The decision-makers would not meet with me, so I needed a unique way to meet this person. I joined a local organization where I knew this person was an active participant. I spent months attending meetings and eventually had the opportunity to work on a project with this person. Finally, he gave me a chance to present my company's offering, and I secured business with his company.

How well does this example demonstrate creativity?  Use a scorecard with a scale of 1-5 and grade each candidate as you interview them.


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