Growing Your Team: Interviewing 101


Growing Your Team: Interviewing 101

It’s a great feeling to watch your business grow, and an exciting “landmark” moment is when you’re able to budget for team members to support your business to reach new heights. Interviewing a new team member sets the tone for how you engage with your start, and these core founding team members could be with you for the long haul, so it’s essential to make sure you’re asking the right questions and getting all the information you need.

Approach the interviewing process with a clear understanding of the position, who you feel would be the right fit for it and any non-negotiable qualifications you’re looking for.

Here at Finn, we’ve already detailed a 3-part series on creating a winning job description to attract the best talent, so here are some tips to help you conduct an effective interview and make the best hiring decision for your company:

Prepare your question hit-list

Before you commence interviews, take some time to think about the specific skills and qualifications that are required for the position and keep a copy of the job description handy. Create a list of questions that will help you assess the candidate’s experience, knowledge, and ability to perform the job, and ensure you allow adequate time to get through them all – open questions are your friend, so create space for your candidate to go into further detail and answer the question in depth (remember, interviews can be a high-stress time for candidates, so try to hold them in a quiet room, calming and private). 

Communication skills

Effective communication is more in-demand as a soft skill than ever before, and you want anyone working for your business to be able to express themselves and articulate themselves to your customers. Keep an eye on how your candidate communicates, especially if you consider them for a customer or stakeholder-facing role. Do they listen and reply with relevant information? Are they asking thoughtful questions in response? Some candidates may have a “canned response” practised that they feel you’ll want to hear, so aim to get their genuine answers over a people-pleaser line.

Look for problem-solving potential

Trust is huge, especially in small-to-medium businesses as you grow. You’ll want any candidate to be confident to problem solve “live” in their role, especially if you can’t be around 24-7. Ask for times in their career when they have been challenged to solve an issue and their logic for the steps taken to resolve it. 

Remember, some candidates may be guarded in highlighting any “weaknesses”, so make them feel comfortable to share authentically and word your questions accordingly while interviewing.

Tap into potential

Some roles will require advanced industry knowledge and particular skills, but the potential is also important to consider. Is this hire excited to start? Are they willing to learn new skills and grow? Do they see this as a career-builder stepping stone or a long-term view? Even if there are certain skills you’ll need to develop, and train, a motivated, positive and enthusiastic employee will always take you further than someone highly skilled who isn’t really connected to your business and its success.

Are they a logical fit?

As a wider consideration, look to understand where this candidate would fit in with your existing team. Especially if you’re a tight-knit group of core members currently, get clear on how they work with colleagues and their ability to collaborate and give and receive feedback. They should also be aligned with your values and vision for the brand and business – if there is a disconnect culturally, this can turn into issues later down the line.

Company culture is an important consideration when hiring a new team member. During the interview, ask the candidate about their experience working in a similar culture and what they believe is important for a successful work environment. Look for candidates who share your company’s values and vision and who will be a good fit for your existing team.

Don’t forget to take brief notes (focus on the person) during the interview and consider each candidate. Avoid asking discriminatory questions and ensure that the hiring and interviewing process is fair and compliant according to Australian laws, and consider bringing in a secondary team member with you so you can take in new perspectives.

Most importantly – take your time! Hiring a new team member is a critical decision that requires careful consideration, and practice makes perfect in refining your interview skills as your team grows.