Making a bad hiring decision is one of the biggest fears of many small business leaders. That fear is justified. The cost of just one bad hire is estimated to be two and a half times the cost of the employee’s annual salary. A bad hire can impact the morale and productivity of your other employees as well as your reputation with your customers. Improving your interviewing process is one of the best ways to make sure that you avoid bad hires and add only the very best employees to your team. Here are five simple things you can do to immediately improve your interviewing process:

Avoid common interview questions
Candidates these days usually have an idea of the typical questions they may be asked. A quick Google search of interview questions will probably pull up a list that looks something like what you are currently working from. This allows candidates to prepare answers in advance so have their best answers, or what they think you want to hear prepared. Instead:

  • Ask about different job-related scenarios such as:
    • Tell me about a time when you had to complete a project with very little direction. How did it go? What did you like? What didn’t you like?
    • Tell me about a time when you had to work on a project you were not passionate about. How did you handle it?
  • Ask questions that help you understand how they think such as:
    • If you could be a superhero, which would you be and why?
    • What is your favorite book and why?
    • What is your favorite place to take a vacation and why?
  • Ask about their previous jobs such as:
    • What did you like least about your most recent job?
    • Who was your favorite boss?
  • Ask about future plans such as:
    • What are your long-term goals? (5 or 10 years from now)
    • If you could take a class to learn something new, what would it be?

Don’t stay in the conference room.
An interview doesn’t have to take place only in your conference room or your office. Take the opportunity to get outside the typical interview environment.

  • Give the candidate on a tour of the office and see how they interact with employees. You can pay attention to the candidate’s interest in the company and see if they fit the company culture.
  • Take the candidate out for lunch or coffee and get to know them better. You can see how comfortable the employee is carrying on a conversation and see how they treat others, such as your server.

Get more than one opinion about the candidate
Invite other employees to sit in the interview, including some individuals who may be working with the new employee or those that have the same supervisor. Get the other employees’ feedback, since they may see or hear things you did not.

Give a candidate a small project to complete
Have the candidate complete a small project that relates to the job. This will give you a sense of what it would be like to work with the person since you cannot always tell when interviewing. Give only basic parameters and then let the candidate set the deadline for the project. This can help you see their work ethic and time management skills.

Some red flags to consider
Keep these things in mind as you interview potential job candidates. They can often be a good predictor of problems in the future if they occur in a job interview.

  • The candidate checks their phone often.
  • The candidate is late.
  • The candidate complains about previous employers or uses vulgar language.
  • The candidate comes with a list of things they are not willing to do.

Finding the best employees is possible. With a few small tweaks, you can take your interview process from good to great, instantly. For more assistance or ideas on hiring, contact the HR team at Helpside.  You can also check out the recording of our on-demand webinar, The Five Best Hiring Hacks for Finding Rockstar Employees.