Dramatically improve your interviewing process


Share on LinkedIn

The other day I noticed that a manager was interviewing a job applicant on a bench in front of her store in a local mall. Since I’m never one to miss the chance to watch and learn, I decided to hang out and see what I could take away from the interview.

I can sum up the entire interview in one word. BORING! The interviewer was boring. The applicant was boring. I think they were boring each other. At the end of the interview the only thing the manager learned was what was already on the application, and all the applicant said was the same the stock answers everyone says in an interview including the all important, “I’m a people person.” My day was complete.

Interviewing and candidate selection is just too important to not do extremely well. Think about it. A great hire can have an almost immediate positive impact on the store, and a bad hire can lead to 60, 90, or more days of pure hell.

Here are ways you can dramatically improve your interviewing and hiring process:

1. Spend part of the interview working together on the floor. Instead of asking the applicant to tell you about her customer service and selling skills, have her show you with real customers. Sure, she won’t have a lot of product knowledge. Sure, she’ll be nervous. But I’ll tell you what, you’ll quickly separate the winners from the fakers. Disclaimer: Check with your attorney, accountant, and even car mechanic if you have any concerns about the legality of your doing this. At the very least, do some service and selling scenario roleplaying with a candidate.

2. Have him observe the staff and share his insights with you. This can be almost as good as having a candidate work the floor. His feedback will tell you if he really gets what it takes to deliver great service and how to sell. You’ll be surprised how many people who say they’re good at sales and service can’t define it even when they see it. This is a must if the applicant is a candidate for a management position.

3. Require the applicant to interview you. You can learn a lot about a person by the questions he/she asks. Is he interested in the challenges and opportunities, or how the lunch breaks work? Is she interested in hearing why you’re a great company to work for, or is she already thinking about vacations? Don’t ask the applicant if she has any questions for you. Tell the applicant, “I’d like you to interview me for 5-10 minutes. I’ll give you a few minutes now to prepare your questions.”

4. Have the applicant spend time with non-management team members. Never forget that not only are we choosing who we want to hire, but the applicant is deciding who he/she does and does not want to work for. If he/she is good we want to do everything we can to get our offer accepted. One of the best ways to do that is to have the candidate bond with one or two of your best non-management employees. It’s one thing for you to say how wonderful your store/company is, but it’s another when that message comes from a potential colleague.

So let me ask, can your interviewing process be improved?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here