Have the right candidates come in and fill out an application. You can learn so much about a person by noting if he or she comes on time, brings a writing instrument and something to write on, and brings a list of questions he or she has about the position and the organization. After the application is filled out satisfactorily, then do an in-person interview.
FACE TO FACE
Begin this step by tempering perceptions and factoring in normal nervousness. The point of this interview is to see if this individual is a fit with your company.
The interview should last at least 30 minutes. If it's is going well, take a full hour. If you're hiring someone for an admin position, make sure the candidate can open an Excel spread sheet and organize data on it, write a business letter, draft an email about a particular situation, and demonstrate proficiency in any office system you use.
Give real life company problems as you did in the phone interview and ask the candidate to offer solutions. For example, windows were ordered incorrectly in two separate cases. "What would you do? How would you handle this?"
Have others in the office talk to the candidate and then get feedback from those employees.
Discuss money at the end of the interview. Ask the candidate what he or she is looking to earn before you let them know what you are prepared to pay.
Follow up: After the consulting call with Mary and Stephen, I found examples of a phone interview question form and an application. If you would like me to send them to you, send me an email, email@example.com.
—Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now works as a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners. firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.winansconsulting.com/