This article follows from an earlier one: "Hiring With Intention," which I developed after speaking with Mary and Stephen Gordon, who owns  InSite Builders LLC in Bethesda, Md., about hiring new employees.

In the first article we explored how to find good prospects. In this article, we will explore the actual hiring process once you have connected with a few good prospects.

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

With the Best" and "Fall Back" candidates, follow up 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.

Apply Right

Ask candidates to come in to 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.