Top Interviewing Tips for Making Good Hires

Interviewing is one of the most important steps in the recruitment process jpeg

You want to know your new hire has job skills and will be a cultural fit and interviewing is how you find out. But interviewing is a pain – it takes time and bad hires can slip through. These are our choice interview tips to save you time and get you the super star hire you want.

Interview Tips – To Avoid Bad Hires

Hiring the wrong candidate is a disaster for your team. The cost of a bad hire is steep, and it's not just the wasted salary. Consider:

  • Severance payments,
  • Training time,
  • Potential customer problems and,
  • Recruiting a replacement 

Spending money on these is an easy way to blow your budget. For one thing these costs are a lot higher than most managers expect see “The Unexpected Costs of a Bad Hire”. Our interview tips aren’t just to save time – these interview tips will make sure you don’t end up with  a bad hire.

Learning From the Pros

Interviews can be more stressful for the interviewer than the interviewee. I’ve yet to come across a single manager who claims that hiring is easy. Even Former Apple Inc. CEO, Steve Jobs, has been quoted as saying, “Recruiting is hard.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t get better at it.

To quote another great entrepreneur - founder of the Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson. “Hiring the right people is a skill, and you get better at it with practice, but there are some good shortcuts that can help you learn quickly.”

That’s why we’ve put together a list of our best interview tips for interviewers to get the best employees. Because hiring the best means:

  • Increased employee performance;
  • Increased organization performance;
  • Increased employee engagement and;
  • Increased employee retention.

In short, hiring the best will Make Managing Easy and that’s what we want.

Interview Tip #1: Know What You’re Looking For

Interview Tip Know what Your're Looking for Jpeg

It’s crucial to set aside time to clearly define your requirements as part of your recruitment process. Think about it - when you know what you want it will be easier to find what you are looking for. If you don’t know what you want, it’s easy for weak, mismatched candidates to slip through. So our first interviewing tip is - know what you’re looking for.

As a part of your interview preparation write a clear job description. Job descriptions should be living documents – they communicate to your employee what you want them to do. If you are confident that you have a well functioning job description then you’re all set. If you’re interviewing for a new role or if your job description is out of date then start here:

A Job Description is a little bit like a record of Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. But if you start off with the Why, you will end up with a much more powerful and relevant job description. 

Because job descriptions are so an important, I’ve developed two special resources to help you make great job descriptions:

  • A job competency guide for identifying the key job competencies required to do the job (download your free job competency guide here);
  •  And a job description template to show you how to bring it all together (download your free job description template here).
Interview tip use a Quick Filter Process for Interviewing Job Candidates

Interview Tip #2: Use a Fast Filter Interview Process

Think of interviewing as a “funnelling process.” At the outset you’ll be inundated with applicants and have “loads” of resumes feeding into your funnel.

Each progressive interview stage is an elimination process. The faster you can filter out the poor-fit applicants, the sooner you’ll be left with a shortlist of the best people for the job.

Interview Tips Use a Fast Filter Interview Process Jpeg

Interview Tip #3: Start With Quick-Fire Phone Interviews

Interview Tip Start with Quick Fire Phone Interviews Jpeg

30-minute quick fire interviews are key to interviewing efficiency in. Instead of 5-10 hour-long first round interviews you can halve this time by implementing first round, quick fire phone interviews.

At first interview stage you should still have a good selection of candidates that you want to filter. So quick-fire interviews shouldn’t take more than half-an-hour each. You can do them in person but phone interviews are even more hassle free.

After completing this step you will have a condensed list of potential candidates worth interviewing personally. Use the next round of interviews for more in-depth questioning and evaluation of their job fit.

Interview Tip #4: Be Totally Sure About Your Choice – Conduct More Than One Interview

Interview Tip Conduct more than one interview to make the best hiring decision jpeg

One interview is never enough – even if you’re interviewing someone you’ve known for years!

When you consider that:

  • There are many things to evaluate: job skills and competencies, cultural fit and qualifications and;
  • It’s important to engage important stakeholders in the success of the candidate by involving them in the interview process.

here's more ground to cover than you can do in a single interview. Hiring shouldn’t be about taking a guess based on a quick evaluation. Hire slow and fire fast works a lot better than hire fast and fire slowly ;-)

As a guideline, the best practice is a minimum of three interviews yourself before making any hiring decisions. But take as many as you need to be sure. Because an extra hour invested here is an insurance policy against catastrophic disasters later.

Interview Tip #5: Ask TOUGH Interview Questions – to Separate the Wheat from the Chaff.

Interview Tip Ask Tough interview Questions Jpeg

There’s no sense in making the interview easy and then getting someone who can’t do the job. Your number one goal is to hire the best person for the job and that means asking tough interview questions.


“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

-David Ogilvy 

Remember - you're not looking for reasons TO HIRE someone, you’re looking for reasons to say “NO” and so that should be your default answer. If you or your team have any doubts about a candidate whatsoever then say “NO.” Your aim should be to eliminate candidates until you’re left with the one or two that truly stand out as the cream of the crop.

How Do You Choose Tough Interview Questions?

The best interview questions to ask candidates are ones that give you comprehensive insight into the person behind the resume. They reveal the job candidate’s:

  • Values;
  • Strengths and Weaknesses;
  • Past behaviors and;
  • Job competencies and skills. 

They’re a combination of:

  • Behavioral Interview Questions;
  • Values Based Interview Questions and;
  • Interview Questions to Avoid Bad Hires. 

To find out how to split the best from the rest using good interview questions, see this article on the Best Interview Questions to Ask Job Candidates


Hiring well is what makes managing easy. Make a bad hire in haste and you will have plenty of time to resent your decision at leisure. Use our top five interviewing tips to save time and hire the best employees:

  1. Know what you’re looking for;
  2. Use a fast filter interview process;
  3. Start with quick-fire phone interviews;
  4. Be totally sure about your choice – conduct more than one interview and;
  5. Ask tough interview questions.

I hope that you find these interviewing tips useful and that they contribute to successful hires in the future. 

The Hiring and Interviewing Series

This is part of the Interviewing and Hiring Series. This series covers how managers can increase employee performance through hiring better employees. And how managers can avoid common hiring mistakes.

Topics in the Series Include:

Other Relevant Resources:

Power Interview Pack: The complete set of interview questions to get the best candidate for the job. Increase employee performance through hiring the best staff and avoiding bad hires. Link here. 

Hiring for Performance: How to hire the best employees and improve employee performance, engagement and retention. Link here.  

Employee Onboarding for Performance: If employee onboarding goes wrong, your new hire may leave you in the lurch or become a demotivated low performer. But motivate and integrate your new hire well and you will have a happy, productive team member. Link here.



What’s your hiring experience? Do you have any good interviewing tips? Help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.

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If you think about it, the job of a Boss is to get people to do stuff. But getting people to do what you want must be one of the toughest things in the world. That’s why WWW.BOSS.CAMP is about making managing easy in just an hour a week. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to hire for performance,
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