How to Best Prepare, Interview and Evaluate New Employees

The competition for labor is at an all-time high, being prepared is the difference between getting the best candidates or not. Apply these straight-forward tips and tools from a Human Resources professional to your interviewing and hiring practices.

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Attracting and retaining employees is challenging, especially in the current labor market.  Selecting the right candidates for the job is critical to the strength and stability of your organization. With that in mind, let’s turn to pie. Why pie? I know a lot about pie. I love to eat pie and I enjoy doing things that are easy as pie. Focusing on the latter, here is a recipe for interviewing and selection made easy as PIE.


When recruiting to fill a position, preparation is key. Here are three ways to build a strong foundation.

Job Descriptions

Job descriptions may sound very basic and simplistic, but they are essential when defining roles in the organization. Job descriptions explain the job, including the essential functions of the position, required skills and education, as well as the physical and environmental demands. Maintain a clear and detailed description for every job in the company, including upper management, and the owner or CEO.

It is important to keep focus on the position itself during the recruiting and selection process. The goal is to select the right candidate for the job based on the job description. Conduct job analyses and update job descriptions on a regular basis to ensure the positions in your company are up-to-date and aligned with company objectives. 


Developing a recruiting strategy in a competitive labor market can be challenging. How can you hire amidst a labor shortage?  How does your company stand out from the others?  Establishing an employer brand will give your organization a competitive edge.

To develop your employer brand, conduct an inventory of employee benefits and perks. Include a description of the company culture, incorporate employee testimonials, and describe what makes your organization stand above the rest. Recognize company awards and special industry recognition. Feature your employer brand in job ads to drive increased visibility and candidate responses. Most importantly, live your employer brand and use it to inspire a healthy workplace culture.

There are multiple recruiting sources available, including your company website, online recruiting applications, onsite applications, hiring events, business events and trade shows. Student internships and hiring graduates are also options, especially when hiring for entry level positions. The recruiting sources will largely depend on the position you are hiring for; however, strive to use more than one as part of your strategy. Many organizations find their employee referral program very rewarding when it comes to finding qualified candidates.

Screening Applicants

Review the applicants’ resumes and applications for similarities in skills and experience necessary to perform the essential functions of the position. Refer to the job description as necessary. If there are a few applicants, you may choose to interview them all. Avoid making any hiring decisions based on discriminatory factors, such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, etc., per Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.


Develop an interview process and use it consistently to ensure each candidate is offered the same opportunity and experience. It is important to use the same interview questions for each candidate. Spend time researching and developing questions. Ask questions as it pertains to the job. Avoid questions that could be interpreted as exclusionary and discriminatory. It is very helpful to have a copy of the job description and an interview questionnaire ready prior to conducting interviews.

It is also important to have a conversation with the candidate during the interview. Ask open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer. At the end of the interview, answer any questions the candidate may have and explain the next steps in the interview process. Immediately after the interview, complete an interview evaluation. Record the candidate’s responses to the interview questions and any additional notes that will assist you during the selection process. Keep your evaluation comments and notes separately. Do not write on a candidate’s resume or application.


Once interviews are complete, conduct further screening by evaluating each candidate based on the job description and requirements of the position. When selecting the final candidate, be sure to establish clear distinction and give a reason why the candidate was chosen over the others. Likewise, establish reasons why candidates were not chosen for the position. In accordance with record keeping requirements, retain for one year all applications, resumes and interview documentation.

Make all job offers verbally and in writing, and when a candidate accepts a job offer, move forward with new employee onboarding. As a matter of courtesy and best practice, contact all of the applicants, thank them for the interview, and inform them that another candidate was selected for the position.

Use the PIE approach to lay the foundation. Seek out others within your organization to assist in the job description writing process. Interviewing and selection may involve different hiring managers and require one or more interviews or interview styles. Talk to an HR professional or subject matter expert to establish tools and resources specific to your company and industry. Finally, reevaluate and modify the process as necessary.