[ Skip Main Nav ]

Phoenix Forward

5 ways to hire the right person

HR pros know how to hire right

In a tough economy, companies can pick and choose among qualified job candidates for that perfect fit. But job candidates who look good on paper can still turn into bad hires.

"A bad hire hurts an organization worse than a good hire helps an organization," says Antonio Vianna, a human resources consultant and instructor in the University of Phoenix MBA program.

Here, he offers five tips on how to hire the right person the first time:


Plan ahead.

“Some hiring managers don’t plan ahead for what they want in a job candidate. Instead, they say, ‘I’ll know it when I see it.’ That’s a mistake,” Vianna says. Managers should develop a detailed job description for the open position and use it to evaluate potential candidates. “You need to have some idea of what the ideal candidate will be beforehand,” he explains.

Vianna also recommends planning out every aspect of the interview before it happens. “Find a comfortable and quiet location,” he notes. “Have a list of questions and answers prepared that cover the job tasks, the company culture and the office environment.” Pay particular attention to how you present company structure, he urges, because not every qualified candidate will fit in.


Have multiple interviews.

“I’m a big believer in conducting multiple interviews,” Vianna says. In addition to having the hiring manager and direct supervisors interview job candidates, he also recommends including the potential employee’s peers.

“We spend our careers working in teams, so it’s important to see how a potential candidate would fit into the team ahead of time,” he says. “One bad apple can mess up the whole team.” Vianna also suggests conducting second and third interviews in different physical environments than the first interview, like at a restaurant or in another informal setting.


Ask candidates how they’d handle tough situations.

One of the most telling ways to evaluate job candidates is to ask how they would handle complex job situations. “This is called behavioral interviewing,” Vianna explains. For example, you might ask candidates how they would work on teams with differing work styles, or how they would solve a potentially catastrophic problem.

“Behavioral interviewing can give managers insight into applicants’ experience, honesty and where any skills gaps might exist,” Vianna points out.


Find out each candidate’s priorities.

A job applicant who is only interested in a steady paycheck is often a bad hire, according to Vianna. “You want someone who has taken a sincere interest in your company and industry,” he says. “Those tend to be the most successful hires.”

He also believes that good job candidates are motivated by training and personal growth opportunities — not just money.


Make sure the candidate asks questions.

At the end of the interview, a strong job candidate should have plenty of questions to ask, too, Vianna asserts. “If the applicant has no questions about the job, company or work environment,” he says, “that’s a red flag.”

Interested in furthering your education?