Last week I talked about a conversation about hiring new employees that I had with Mary and Stephen Gordon, clients who own InSite Builders LLC in Bethesda, Md., in my blog " Tips on Hiring a New Employee." Today's blog follows up with some suggestions for the next two steps in the process: reviewing resumes and doing the phone interview.

Resume Review
As the resumes come in, they should be reviewed by an owner first. Rate them 1 to 5 and then continue to shift ranking as more resumes come in. For instance, the first resume to come in is “1,” the next resume, if it is a better fit than number 1, should then become “1” and the first resume that came in now becomes “2” and so on. The resumes should be categorized into three piles:

  • Best: follow up
  • Fall Back: possibility
  • Wouldn't Hire: won't proceed

Always respond back to those that you will not hire by thanking them for their interest. Tell  them you have reviewed their resume but will not be proceeding.

Phone Interview
Begin with an initial phone interview and key questions. It is important for you to hear a candidate’s tone, the words he or she uses and how they interact and handle themselves on the phone. If the person is not businesslike on this initial phone call, they will not change.
You will learn the most from a potential candidate by giving them examples of real life situations at your company and asking how they would handle the situation. For example, an irate customer -- a valued past client -- calls. How would you handle them?
Draw on all of the things that have driven you crazy in the past regarding this position.  Turn those unfortunate realities into questions.
Make sure the questions cannot be answered “yes” or “no.”  And follow each question with things like “Tell me more” or “What made that the right choice?” and so on.
Look for subtle clues in the way they answer questions and handle themselves.
If the phone interview goes well, have them fill out an application.
Next week, I'll talk about the application and the in-person interview. Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now works as a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners. paul@remodelersadvantage.com; http://www.winansconsulting.com/