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CheatSheet for InterviewERS™

Basic Tenets

1. It is necessary to sell both yourself and your company to each candidate.

2. People are sold more by your enthusiasm than by your persuasion

3. Be sure to understand the position for which the candidate is interviewing.

4. Know why you are part of the interviewing process.

5. Be yourself!

6. Always listen carefully for what a person is not saying.

7. Avoid monopolizing the conversation.

8. Candidates are smart! Be sure not to include the answer when you ask the question.

9. When asking questions, especially closing questions, (i.e., any question to which you definitely want an answer) the single, most critical action taken after asking the question is to SHUT UP! The minute you say anything else the other person is “off the hook” and does not have to respond to that question.

10. Aside from normal “interview jitters” if the candidate is unapproachable, non- communicative, intimidating, etc. during the interview the situation won’t improve if s/he is hired.

11. Ask specific questions to acquire whatever information you want. Don’t talk around the subject and then make assumptions.

12. Assumptions are the basis for most miscommunication and lost opportunities.

13. Half the purpose of the interview is to find out all you can about the candidate. So ask your questions open-ended, i.e. not answerable with yes or no.

14. The other half is to furnish information to the candidate about the job, management style, culture and technology of the company.

15. If you don’t care enough to spend time and effort on the hiring you waive your right to complain about the results.

16. Never forget that quality hiring is the basis for high retention, an important factor in assuring your company’s long-term success.


1. Read the resume before the interview happens.

2. Decide exactly what you want to find out during the interview.

3. Write down a series (however many are necessary) of well defined, open-ended questions to guide the interview and achieve number 2.

4. Questions like “Tell me about yourself.” and “What do you want to be doing five years from now?” rarely yield good information.

5. Few people enjoy interviewing (whether as interviewer or interviewee). You must focus your mind and be sincerely interested. If you are wishing you were someplace else during the interview the candidate will pick up on it.

6. Find the “why” behind the answer. “Why” is personal. It will open up the conversation and give you the opportunity to learn a lot about how the candidate thinks. Who a person is as important in hiring as what the person does!

7. Remember, you may have to spend the next three plus years with him/her.

CheatSheet for InterviewERS™

Sample Questions

1. What problems arose in your last project? What approach was taken to solve them? Did you agree with that approach? If not, what approach would you have taken? Why?

2. Show me [on the whiteboard] how you would approach this circuit problem [or  whatever]. (Discover methodology)

3. What do you like most about your current job/project/manager? Least? Why?

4. In what direction(s) would you like your career to develop?

5. In what ways do you feel you could contribute to our success?

6. What motivates you? Why? De-motivates? Why?

7. What are you looking for professionally or personally that is not available in your current situation? What would you like to accomplish while working here

During the interview

1. Work your questions into the conversation as much as possible, rather than a straight Q&A session.

2. Take copious, written notes.

3. Be polite; treat the person as you would like to be treated if positions were reversed.

4. Always stay around long enough to introduce the candidate to the next person.

5. Offer bathroom breaks, coffee, etc. Don’t assume that somebody else already offered.

6. If you are the last person to interview, walk the person to the exit and thank him/her for their time.

After the interview

1. Fill out the evaluation form immediately while your memory is freshest and before you discuss it with everybody else.

2. Be absolutely honest. If you are unsure of something say so. Include vague feelings,         positive and negative, even if you can’t define or explain them. Always keep in mind that the person will impact your company’s success one way or the other.

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