There are so many obstacles to hiring successfully. How do you make hiring a bit easier and more likely to be successful?

Several U.S. medical schools are using a new process for interviewing prospective students. Called MMI, the multiple mini interview is similar to “speed dating.” Candidates respond privately to several ethical questions, each posed by a different interviewer. The goal of the process, Dr. Stephen Workman of Virginia Tech Carilion (VTC) told TheNew York Times, is to “weed out the students who look great on paper but haven’t developed the people or communication skills we think are important.”

The same is true for your prospective hires. Most unsuccessful hires can talk their way through interviews but don’t have what it takes to make a service company successful.


Set up your own MMI series of one-on-one interviews — each no more than two minutes long, with each focusing on a problem that someone in the particular position deals with regularly. The candidate reads the problem posted on the door of the interviewer’s office, enters the room, and two minutes later moves on to the next interview. Questions should assess how well candidates think on their feet and how willing they are to work in teams.

Interestingly, the VTC interviewers found that “the most important part of the interviews are often not the candidates’ initial responses ... but how well they respond when someone disagrees with them, something that happens when working on teams.”

Dr. Harold Reiter, a professor at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, who developed the system, told the Times that researchers have found that “... situational interviews rather than personal ones are more likely to reveal character flaws.”


Wouldn’t you like to have others in the company help you with the hiring process? Wouldn’t it be great if the company took typical problems and challenges that it faced and put them front and center to potential candidates during the hiring process? And wouldn’t it be wonderful to find out how well candidates problem-solve and work with others before deciding whether to hire them?

Consider using MMI to find the good people you want. After all, you and your company’s clients deserve it.

—Paul Winans, consultant and a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage, recently sold the 30-year-old remodeling business he owned with his wife, Nina.