Here’s how to find the perfect candidate.
What are your qualifications?
It’s an obvious interview question, but it doesn’t have an obvious answer—unless the small business owner has set specific expectations for the position, says Michael Dash, president of CarPartKings.com, an online car-part seller based in Great Neck, N.Y. “If you do not have a clear picture in your head of what you are looking for, you will not find the right fit for the position,” Dash says.
For their first hire, Dash and his business partner were stretched too thin between running the business and the technical Web development tasks. They sat down and wrote out every technical task they performed, such as writing codes, and determined which ones their new Web developer could take on.
When the first of 35 candidates came in for an interview, Dash knew what he wanted to hear.
What is your perfect job?
A small business owner typically needs an employee who will grow with the company, says Lois Margolin, co-owner of Chelsea Reservations, an online reservation systems company in Coral Springs, Fla. When Margolin asks this question, she wants to know if the candidate will be an employee at her business for at least five years. Margolin has employees who have been with her company for more than 20 years.
Dash agrees. What a candidate says about their ideal future job “gives you a good idea of what the person is looking for,” he says. “If they say, ‘Eventually, I want to be running my own company,’ that’s a great response because you know that they’re motivated and they’re going to give you as much as they can.” However, if they say, “‘I love my role, and I’m not really looking for anything else,’ there’s really not much room for growth there.”
How do you perform in a team setting?
A candidate can’t rely on technical qualifications alone. First hires are joining a small staff, and Margolin says that employees must have a personality that supports the work environment you hope to build.
Margolin recommends looking for a candidate who boasts their communications skills. If he or she then adds an ability to work independently, it’s a subtle sign that is his or her preference.