How To Interview For Success:

First, Have A Plan  


“Give it away give it away give it away now” 


Now, I know this Chili Peppers song isn’t about interviewing, it’s about selflessness and altruistic behavior.


But, one of the biggest mistakes some business leaders make in interviewing is they don’t have a plan. Frankly, many just start yakking and “give it away now.” 


Too much yakking.  Because they just aren’t comfortable or don’t know how to interview. They “talk first, ask second.”


Interviewing isn’t easy. It’s a skill.  And, just because you own or lead your company and have hired a few people, it doesn’t mean you’re an expert at it.


Have you ever started an interview by talking about the company (or worse, yourself) for the first 20 minutes?  That’s not how to interview for capacity, performance or culture fit.


The facts are that if you just start talking, candidates will take in the information you give them (intended or not) and parrot that back to you in ways that sound intelligent. Smart candidates are good at it. 


To eliminate savvy candidates using your information against you, you need a consistent, well-developed structure to guide how you interview for two reasons:  

  1. Create benchmarks and baselines.
  2. Minimize bias. 


 Never, Ever Just “Wing It”.

At Key Hire, we’ve developed an interviewing framework that’s based on more than a decade of helping business owners and leaders source, interview and hire High-Impact Talent (HIT®).  We’ve watched what works and seen what doesn’t.


Which simply means: don’t ever just wing it. Hiring is not a specific science. We want to maximize our potential of making a great hire and talking first and asking second is the worst way to derail an interview and make a bad hire.   


Read our article “Hesitation Blues” – Are You Afraid of the Hiring Process?


Develop A Standardized List Of Questions/Topics.

Put simply, think of structuring your interviews so you are asking the same questions to every candidate you interview, every time.  At Key Hire, we take every candidate, for every position (C-Level to Supervisor) through the same process because we are tuned into what we want to hear from them, where to probe if we’re not getting what we want and when to cut them loose.


Using standardized interview questions over time will help you dial into what a great interview answer sounds like for your company, where to dig to get the answer you’re looking for or know when someone doesn’t have the experience they claim they have.


Minimize Or Remove Any Chance For Bias.

Having a structured set of questions will also help minimize any bias (we’ll never remove it completely). Structure helps to strip away any emotional component that could be clouding your judgment.  You want to think clearly about each candidate and not let what is happening in your business that day (good or bad) get in the way.


I’ve seen it firsthand.  A client having a bad day ruthlessly interrogating a great candidate, sabotaging the entire process and missing out on a HIT that could have been a difference maker in their business.


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I’ve also witnessed a client having a great day make a bad hire because they immediately liked a candidate, lobbed up easy question after easy question and lead them to the “right” answers so the candidate wouldn’t mess up and jeopardize the interview.


The Harvard Business Journal does a great job of explaining personal bias in their article How to Take the Bias Out of Interviews.


Rapport is important, yes. But remember, you’re not interviewing to find a new friend. This is about business. It’s about the best person for your job and company.  How you “feel” about a candidate during an interview on any given day can and will lead to missed opportunities and bad hires.


Are you guilty of “Talk First, Ask Second” Interviewing?  Let us know by leaving a comment below.




Corey Harlock
Principal Consultant

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