Interviewing and Hiring Part 2 – Best Practices

by Mateusz Kuczera

Published August 21, 2023

As Jenny steps through her office door, she notices that her interview candidate is already sitting across her desk, back straight and hands on his laps. She passes beside him, stops at his right side and says “Hi! Shi—Shi-a-oley? Did I get this right?”

Xiaolei immediately stands up and bows several times while saying with his heavy Asian accent “Yes. Hi. me Xiaolei. Nice meet you.”

“Nice meeting you too,” replies Jenny, stretching out her hand to shake his. Xiaolei grabs Jenny’s hand softly, shakes it gently and quickly lets go, never looking into her eyes. She walks around her desk and sits down, after which Xiaolei imitates her.

“So,” she says. “You’re here for the electrician job?”

“Uhm, ya. Electrician. Me finish school. Now me want work. Me electrical engineer from China but no accept me engineer here.”

“Right,” says Jenny. “You’re a Chinese national?” she prompts after glancing at his resume.

“Ya, me China citizen.”

“You have kids?”

“Ya, I bring wife and children from China.”

Jenny looks down at his CV and says with a sigh “yeah… Look, we have a lot of candidates right now. Your CV is good, but I’ll need to review with my partner. I’ll let you know how it goes.”

As she stands up, Xiaolei rises from his seat in a military manner. She walks towards the door, stops and looks at him. Understanding that Jenny is showing him the way out, he shyly looks down, grabs his belongings and leaves her office. As she closes the door, Jenny thinks “honestly, can’t we get normal people in here?”

A few days later, Jenny’s phone rings from an unknown number. Right after she picks up, a man professionally initiates the conversation by saying “Good day. This is Romeo Stanford, immigration lawyer at Stanford associates. I am calling you on the behalf of Xiaolei Li whom you have interviewed recently. I have been made aware that you may have asked questions related to ethnicity, family and citizenship. Is that accurate?”

Jenny frowns, keeps her silence a second or two, then says “uh, well, I did ask if he was Chinese.” Then releases with a slight chuckle “What, is that illegal or something?”

“Ma’am, as a matter of fact, it is. Thank you for the confirmation. You will be hearing from us shortly. Goodbye.”

In the worst practices section, some paragraphs had examples of how to turn the worst around. This section will complement with additional best practices for interviewing and hiring.

Define the Role Clearly

Before beginning the hiring process, it is important to have a clear idea of the role you are looking to fill, and the qualifications and experience required for the job. Having a clear job description and set of criteria will help to ensure that you are only considering candidates who are a good fit. During the interview, ensure that the candidate understands the role and the expectations that come with it. This will prevent surprises when the candidate starts working.

Be Honest and Transparent

It goes without saying that lying during an interview can generate a whole lot of problems down the road. When talking to a candidate, be candid about everything. This includes company values, expectations on the role, compensation, team, leadership, and anything else you can think about. After all, the candidate will be choosing the company, team and manager as much as you will be choosing the candidate.

Be Thorough in the Interview Process

During the interview process, it's important to ask open-ended questions which give candidates an opportunity to elaborate on their qualifications and experience. It is also important to verify the information given by the candidates and conduct reference checks where possible.

Evaluate Cultural Fit and Soft Skills

It is not only important to find candidates who have the right qualifications and experience but also who fit the company culture and have the right set of soft skills. In small companies, soft skills can be especially important as it can have a big impact on how well an employee will perform and how well they will get along with their colleagues.

Give Equal Opportunities

It is important to ensure that your hiring process is fair and unbiased. Making sure that you give equal opportunities to candidates from different backgrounds and experiences will help to ensure that you are getting the best possible pool of applicants.

Have a Sense of Urgency

While more than one interview can help alleviate doubt, taking too long to hire will usually scare candidates away. It is usually recommended to take no longer than a few weeks between the first interview and the decision to hire or not.

Always Give Feedback

Whether the candidate was hired or not, it is particularly important to provide feedback. This is a purely altruistic move but will truly have a positive impact on the applicant. With valuable feedback, a person who originally did not have a chance might improve and develop and ultimately become a great candidate. Always remember that an interview is only but a glimpse at someone’s capabilities. It usually not because the candidate has a poor skillset, but because the candidate poorly shows his skillset.


In conclusion, hiring the right employees is crucial for the success of small companies. By following best practices such as having a clear job description, being thorough in the interview process, evaluating for culture fit and soft skills and giving equal opportunities, small companies can make sure they are only considering candidates who are a good fit for the role and the company. By being mindful of these best and worst practices, small companies can increase their chances of finding the right employees to help them grow and succeed.

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