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Ask Dave

Hiring the right person

Bryan is having trouble with a hiring decision, because both candidates are evenly matched after several interviews. Dave offers a few suggestions that might help make the choice a little easier.

QUESTION: Bryan owns a small business with two employees. He’s looking to hire another team member, and he’s down to two candidates who are evenly matched — even after several interviews. Dave gives him a few ideas for separating the perfect candidate from the good one.

ANSWER: As an entrepreneur, that’s a great problem to have. Some business owners hire a person after just one meeting, and that’s a really bad idea.

Have you let your team members talk to them? Sometimes other people will pick up on things you missed during a formal interview. You might also think about scheduling a meeting with each of the candidates off-site. People tend to be more at ease in an informal setting, like a restaurant or coffee shop, and this could lead you to discover new things. Sometimes, a more relaxed setting allows you to see the whole person. It can also lead someone to say things that might cause you to hire them — or not hire them.

Something we do at my company is a final interview over dinner. Spouses are invited to this meeting, and we encourage them to speak into the situation. I’m not talking about a big test, just conversation and a friendly, family atmosphere.

There’s nothing wrong with getting an idea about a person’s value system during an interview, either. And take some time to decide if you just flat out like them. Look to see if they light up when they talk about the job, or if it looks like they’re having a root canal procedure to collect a paycheck.