Mathieu Viennet

Hiring soon? Try these tips to make the process smoother.

List it: Begin the search online, perhaps by creating a job posting on Craigslist. Develop a work description and highlight key attributes you’re looking for. Lay out benefits, but say that the salary is negotiable. Say enough about your company and the job so résumés are more likely to be a fit.

Review responses: Owners should review résumés first. Decide deal killers ahead of time—proximity to the office, choppy past work history, poor grammar.

Rate resumes on a scale of 1 to 5, then shift the ranking as more come in; e.g., the first résumé received is “1,” the next, if it is a better fit, should then become “1” and the first résumé received now becomes “2,” and so on. Categorize résumés into three piles: Best (follow up); Fall Back (possibility); Wouldn’t Hire (won’t proceed).

Always respond to the “no’s”: Tell them you’ve reviewed their résumé; thank them for their interest; let them know you won’t be following up.

Get dialed in: During an initial phone interview, it’s important to hear a candidate’s tone, word choice, and how he or she interacts. Give candidates examples of real company dilemmas and ask how he or she would handle the problem. Follow each response with “Tell me more” or “What made that the right choice?”

If the phone interview goes well, have them fill out an application.

Meet face-to-face: Temper your perceptions and factor in normal nervousness for the in-person interview.

Spend at least 30 minutes with the person. If you’re hiring for an admin position, make sure the candidate can do essential tasks such as open an Excel spreadsheet and organize data on it, write a business letter, and demonstrate proficiency in a particular office system. Again, give real company problems and ask for solutions.

Have other staff talk to the candidate and get those employees’ feedback.

Discuss money at the end of the interview. Ask the candidate what she is looking to earn before you let her know what you are prepared to pay.

Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, is a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage and a consultant to remodeling business owners.