I’m going to assume you have an interview questionnaire that you use as a guide while conducting hiring interviews. If you don’t, you should, because even if you don’t think you need one, eventually someone will. Others in your organization will assist with interviews, and they’re not you. But I stray. I want you to review those questions and answer this for each. Why is this question asked, and what’s its purpose? If you don’t have an answer for every question you may not be focused on finding candidates that fit your needs and culture.

My point is everything that is done during a selection interview should have a purpose and that purpose is to find the best fit for your organization as well as for the candidate.

Create a Profile

Anyone can create a candidate profile by position, department, or organization. To build a profile, first, look at your most successful employees. What makes them stand out? Is it their dedication, communication skills, training, or all of the above? Look for the most common traits and talents among your top team members. And then add those characteristics to your hiring profile. Next, consider the essential knowledge and attitude needed for the position. For example, does the position require training, credentials, or experience? Do you need someone who works well with a team, works well alone, or both? Keep the profile to ten points or less (I used one for years that had five points) any longer and it may be too complicated and confining.

Share the pitfalls of the position

Tell it like it is. If there’s overnight travel, don’t downplay it—share it. Whatever the biggest downsides of the position are explain them to the candidate. If you’re not sure what the pitfalls are, ask team members who are currently in the position. Try asking them what they wish someone had told them when they were new to the position.

Show me the money

Put it out there. Find out what the candidate expects as salary and if it’s not in your budget don’t string them along—tell them. Here’s a question that has worked well for me, “Help me advise you the best I can, I’m going to ask you two questions about salary, what do you want to make and what do you need to make?” If the need to make is more than I can pay I inform them and explain the position isn’t a good fit. The interesting thing is I’ve had people thank me for the honesty as well as candidates fight back for the job.

Interviewing potential new hires is a science and an art. It starts with understanding who you need and want, followed by an interview process that keys on the attributes that make a successful teammate. It’s not just a list of questions to ask because that’s the way it’s always been done.

If you found this interesting you might appreciate this, The New Managers Workbook a crash course in effective management there’s an entire chapter on recruiting.