How to Avoid Bad Employees Before You Hire Them

How to Weed Out Bad Employees Before You Hire Them


As a manager, you may come upon a time when your job responsibilities require you to interview and hire employees.  This can be a new and challenging role for managers.  In most cases the Human Resources Department is responsible to screen and verify information that is on the resume, however more and more managers are interviewing and hiring their own employees.

Interviewing is one of the most important steps in hiring a new employee. It is an opportunity to evaluate an applicant’s work experience as well as a chance to review the applicant’s specific skills and abilities.  Questions that are asked during an interview should reflect the Job Description.  In most companies the Human Resources Department will develop these interview questions in advance. 

Interviews provide an opportunity to evaluate the applicant’s interpersonal and communication skills and to get a “feel” for their personality. The interview can also be used to verify qualifications and education as indicated on the resume.

Effective interviews require preparation, time and effort. It is more beneficial to hire the right person the first and not simply hire to fill a position.  All interviews require time and effort by managers.  If the process needs to be repeated because a newly hired employee leaves or had to be terminated, then this time was not well spent and the process will need to be conducted again. 

The most important thing to remember is to have fun with this process.  A successful interview and hire will benefit you and the company.

How to prepare for the phone screen and/or interview.

Always know and understand the job, the job requirements, education required, salary range, etc.  Be prepared to answer any questions that the candidate may ask.

Read over the applicants resume before the screen/interview.  Give yourself enough time to conduct the screen/interview.  Do not rush this process.  You may miss vital information or details by not using this process.

Select applicants that best fit the Job Description and job ad that you have placed.  Send an email or call the applicants to set a time and date to talk.


The first step to selecting candidates can be a phone screen.  In this process you ask 4 or 5 preset questions to all candidates based on the Job Description.  This preliminary screen with give you an insight into the applicant and if they can speak to their resume, their past job duties, and/or minimum requirements you have stated in your job ad.  Different job titles should be asked different questions.

Always ask all applicants the same set of questions.  This is necessary in order for the manager to score or rate candidates to determine those you want to bring in for a face-to-face interview.  If any of the screened candidates are not moved forward to the face-to-face round always send an email to advise that they have not been chosen to move forward in the process.  This lets them know you value the time that they spend speaking with you.  It is just plain common courtesy.  You do not have to provide feedback. 

The face-to face interview is the next round.  Depending upon the level of the position you may have more than one face-to-face interview.  This interview usually has predetermined questions.  These questions are more in-depth and again are based on the Job Description.  They should be written in a way that they get the most information from an applicant. 

For instance, they should be open-ended questions.  Good examples are questions that start with

  • Tell me about a time when
  • Tell me about your experience with XYZ”. 
  • How does your experience make you qualified for ABC position?
  • What do you like most about being a ABC
  • What are you looking for in your new position?
  • Describe a time when you ???

Starting your questions with these types of words will get you more than a yes or no answer and give you a good feel for the applicant. 

Ask all applicants the same questions so that they are scored or rated on the same scale.  Be sure to score all interviews and take good notes.  You do not need to capture every word.  Key words or phrases are best.

If you are conducting another round of interviews and eliminate any of the applicants from the next round always send an email to advise.  This lets them know you value the time that they spend speaking with you.  It is just plain common courtesy.   You do not have to provide feedback. 

Questions you can’t ask during an interview

Direct questions about family, marital status, age, religious or political affiliation are not permitted within the employment interview. these questions are not relevant to a person’s ability to do the job, so therefore are not to be asked.

Conducting the interview

Always treat the applicant with respect and do not keep them waiting. During the interview put everything else aside and concentrate on the candidate.  This means no email, no phone or interruptions of any kind.  Use active listening skills.  This means you listen more than you talk.  Refrain from sharing your views or thoughts.  It is important not to provide feedback, such as good answer or perfect after a candidate has answered a question.  It is better to just say “thank you”. 

Be truthful and do not give the candidate a false impression of the company or what it has to offer.  Remember the candidate is looking for the right place to work just as you are looking for the right candidate to fill the positon.

Always thank the candidate for their time.  If this candidate is the right fit, you may make a job offer.  If they are not the right fit, please advise that that are not being considered for the positon.

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