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The NFL has found itself in a predicament that captured an abundance of negative national media attention. Why?

Because of some bad hires! Last week I wrote about the rule “be diligent, not desperate” in hiring and this is a perfect case in point.

While replacement officials for nationally televised sporting events might get way more publicity than your own hiring mistakes, the result is factually the same. Customers, like fans, affect your business with eroded confidence, loss of reputation and decreased revenues. Customer service levels from your temporary and permanent employees shouldn’t ever waiver in consistency. You need to interview thoroughly.

An interview is a tug-of-war; so “pull” the information you want to know. It won’t always be offered voluntarily. Seek answers to your questions and follow-up on any statement that you don’t understand or doesn’t make sense. I’m not saying that everyone you interview has skeletons in his or her closet, but if that candidate is looking for a new job, usually there is some story you should know. At the very least, give that potential hiree the opportunity to lay his or her cards on the table. That way the prospective candidate won’t walk around embarrassed or insecure, always wondering whether or not you know their well-kept secrets. Otherwise, that person might make the same mistakes elsewhere and thus begins that potential candidate’s demise. Pull the data to discover anything you need to know, up front, so that a prospective hiree can start with a clean slate. For all you know, at the last job he or she burned down the break room. (Or couldn’t tell an interception from a touchdown!!!)

Use questions that create the necessity for the candidate to think independently and answer honestly, rather than use some rote script from a book or the redundant coaching received from a personnel agency. Be creative and force that person to think outside of the box. You should have a system and unshakeable standards for your hiring process.

I remember when NFL coaching legend Joe Gibbs was interviewed on how he got four different teams of personnel together to make four separate Super Bowl appearances. Investors Digest asked Joe “What are some of the most important aspects of being a leader?” In his reply he said: “As leaders, what we have to do is pick people willing to sacrifice their own goals for the good of the team. That’s tough and some can’t do it. At the Washington Redskins we learned a lot of things about selecting people. You don’t do it based on a resume… So the first thing for me is always: Does he have integrity and character. That’s always first. Second is smarts. And then, the third thing is talent. That’s a little different approach than what others may have done.” Finding these skills proceeding and then included with football talent were his system of building champions.

Realize you are not looking for all of the interviewees to be cookie-cutter, rote or robotic renditions of each other. Individuality is an important characteristic for this potential applicant and should be in your search as well. You want to be able to see them for who they really are see through any phoniness. Multiple interviews, tests, and your comfort level will narrow down the candidates so you’re able to select the right person for the job.

Ask some of the following questions:
  • Why do you want this job?
  • Now that you understand a few details about this job and the responsibilities it may entail, are you more or less interested and why?
  • What experience qualifies you to be the best possible candidate for this position?
  • What is the number-one factor that sways you one way or the other in looking for a job? Salary? Job duties? Your boss?
  • What ambitions do you have regarding your level of achievement in this prospective new job? What are your career goals?

Be alert to “red flags” in the candidate’s attitude. Is it superficial or is he or she really motivated to be hired? Does salary seem to be the candidate’s main concern or only motivation, or does this applicant actually reveal interest in the position? At the end of the day, does this prospective candidate seem genuinely satisfied with the conditions of the job?

These interview questions and observations are relevant to selecting the most appropriate candidate. Whether a front-line customer service representative for you or a replacement referee for the NFL! There are more tips in my book at