The Interview for Employers Part I: Ready, Set, Prepare!

A lot of valuable time goes into finding the right fit for a company. The interview is one of the most valuable steps in the hiring process. Don’t forget that patience is important; never become so eager to fill a position that you rush into hiring someone. And remember, you are looking for the best candidate, not the best of the candidates you have seen.


Preparation is essential to have a successful interview. By preparing, you enter an interview with the knowledge and confidence you need to ask the right questions that will properly evaluate a candidate.


Reviewing Resumes

  • Length: It’s best to regard length as a situational variable. If somebody has been in the workforce for 20 years, you should expect more than a couple of pages to adequately display his/her accomplishments. If a candidate has been out of school with only 5 years of experience, the resumes can be a little shorter. However, don’t judge someone simply on the length of their resume. There may be some great value in their experiences.
  • Format: Look for resumes that are clean and easy to read. Make sure candidates have provided a balance between reverse chronological facts and skill-based information.
  • Content: Make sure candidates have logical wording/grammar with no spelling errors. They should offer verifiable accomplishments without being vague.

Cover Letter: Cover letters are a great sample of writing to assess a candidate’s level of professionalism. Perfect grammar on cover letters will show that a candidate cares about making a good impression. Keep in mind that cover letters are commonly considered a preference and won’t be received if they are not requested.


Write Down Specific Questions
Not only will this help you focus the interview from the start, it also allows comparisons of applicants across interviews.


Ideal Employee: When forming your questions, think about the characteristics or attributes of a top employee in your company: motivation, dedication, flexibility, integrity – etc. Create a list of questions that will help you evaluate these attributes that will match a cultural fit. The best questions are ones that will inspire some thought rather than yes or no answers. Ask for examples!


Position Oriented: It’s important to establish the defining skill set for the role, and to also create questions that involve these talents. Again, use open ended questions that will elicit examples!


Structure Your Interview
Remember, not only are you interviewing the candidate, but they are interviewing you. If your interview isn’t structured and organized it can give the candidate the sense that you don’t care, or that your business isn’t structured and organized.


Look for our next blog in this series, The Interview for Employers Part II: Structure Your Interview



About the Author

For more than 15 years, Kelly Robinson Jensen has provided recruiting services in a broad range of sectors. As Xelerate LLC’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Customer Officer, she oversees operations and sales, with specific responsibility for ensuring operational excellence, cultivating a service organization that innovates and delivers results, and for achieving the company’s sales objectives. Xelerate LLC provides businesses with fully-customized recruitment solutions, merging industry expertise with unparalleled proven practices. Using a consultative approach, Xelerate positively transforms a company’s hiring process helping them secure top talent now and for the future.
Kelly is a Board Member of the Greater Philadelphia Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs and the Entrepreneurs’ Forum of Greater Philadelphia (EFGP). She is a 3ci Council Member of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce as well as a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), Greater Valley Forge Human Resources Association (GVFHRA), and Philadelphia Society of People and Strategy (PSPS).
In addition, she actively participates in various local foundations focused on kids, health and economic empowerment. Additionally, Kelly fills the roles of wife, mother and aunt to 14 nieces and nephews.
To learn more about Kelly, connect with her on LinkedIn at