Employee Screening How To Guarantee A Smooth Interview Process

Identifying if an interviewee will be a good fit for your company is difficult. But there are steps you can take to help make the hiring process smoother.


One type of employee that you never want at your company is someone who has a toxic attitude. Luckily, according to Inc., you can spot these negative energy producers easier if you heed the following advice.

Go Negative

Well, not really. But by asking people to identify the things they didn’t like at their past job, you can glean a lot of information. In Inc.’s article, Sam Saxton from Salter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs suggests asking candidates to pinpoint five things they didn’t like about their last job.

​ “Asking for one thing is pretty common. Asking for five pressures the person to reveal either strategic insights or signs of toxicity,” Saxton says.

Another way to execute this “negative” spin is by asking forced negative questions.

“Asking some forced negative questions can be very telling. Questions like ‘Why shouldn't I hire you?’ or ‘who is the worst person you hired and why?’ can set the stage for prospective employees to open up. Positively framed questions can elicit prefabricated responses, so asking an applicant to think about something from a different angle can provide more authentic, telling answers,” Robert Glazer, Acceleration Partners, says to Inc.

Talk About The Tough Times

It’s pretty common to ask a job candidate how they handled a difficult situation at work. But while you process your candidate’s response, listen if the person blames someone else for his misfortune, or if he talks about how he learned from his mistake.

Toxic employees are few and far between, but you still need to screen potential employees to find out who will “fit in” at your company. While this process may take a long time, it will be worth it in the long run.

Look Out For Grudge Holders And Complainers

Sure, we all don’t like some people. It’s human nature to not get along with every single person you’ve ever met. But there’s a serious problem if a person can’t look past a formerly bad situation years later.

Also note if a person persistently complains during an interview. “If the person you're interviewing complains about his or her current employer throughout the interview, that's a red flag. It is OK for candidates to dislike parts of their current role, but it all depends on how they explain the issues they are facing,” Brian Honigman, BrianHonigman.com, tells Inc.

Go With The Group Think Just This Once

Another great tip for interviewers is to hold a group interview. Having multiple people from your company in the room can help. Although you may not be able to tell if a person is fibbing to you in an interview, Kim, the CFO, could be the best lie detector in the world.

Read Between The Lines

Take a good look at a job candidate’s resume and job application. While someone may be a great worker, that doesn’t guarantee he will be a great fit at your company. Some things to look out for in a potential employee’s resume and application include the following.

Neatness: A neat resume and a clean application could reflect a person’s organizational skills. Now, we aren’t bashing people with bad handwriting – I know that I’ve turned in some pretty messy applications before. But sometimes a person’s attention to detail can reflect how seriously she takes herself, and how seriously she takes your company.

Completeness: If an applicant doesn’t finish her application, take note. An unfinished application shows that A. a person wasn’t paying attention to the directions you gave her, or B. the applicant didn’t feel like that part of the application was important. Neither excuse is valid and should be considered a red flag.

Experience: Look for relevant experience. That experience doesn’t have to be perfect, but there should be something in a person’s history that indicates he has some ability to learn what your company does.

The above ideas were taken from an interview Inc. did with Thomas Melohn, the president and co-owner of North American Tool & Die Inc. The company is known for its hiring process.

The First-Time Employer

If you’re just starting out, there’s a good chance that the people you are hiring may be your first group of employees. While that’s exciting, it’s incredibly scary, too.

So, how much does it cost to start hiring employees? The price tag to recruit, hire, and train a new employee is around $4,000, Entrepreneur reports. And don’t forget all the new legal obligations, liabilities, extra expenses, paperwork, (and danger of hiring mismatches)… Hiring is an art. To help you hone that art, we’ve gleaned a few tips and tricks from Entrepreneur concerning how to hire your first employees.

Do A Background Check

Never trust your gut. According to Entrepreneur, background checks are important. When you do a background check on a new employee, that check typically finds the following information: It will confirm a person’s employment history, worker’s compensation claims, criminal incarceration records, credit history, drug tests, and driving record.

“While much of this information is documented publicly, certain personal records, including education, military and medical, are confidential and necessitate an applicant's consent before digging them up. If you can, you should try to obtain original educational credentials. With advances in technology, a manufactured diploma or degree is as simple as typing in a few keystrokes,” Entrepreneur reports.

And while you could hire out background check searches to a third party provider, that search will come with a few caveats. “If you plan to farm out a fact-finding hunt to a third-party, you're required by federal law to alert the person who's under investigation in writing. You must also notify the applicant if he or she is being denied a position due to disparaging information you've uncovered, and give him or her a chance to refute that information,” Entrepreneur reports. Also: Not all fact-finding companies are created equal – do your research before hiring them, too.

A Few Final Interview Thoughts

Before you head into that interview, remember the following: Entrepreneur reports that “it's unlawful to ask about an applicant's age, sexual orientation, marital status, religious affiliation or race. And questions pertaining to the nature of a physical, emotional or mental handicap can only be asked if an applicant will need special accommodations for performing a specific job.”

Also: don’t forget to call a person’s references. Entrepreneur suggests asking for two professional references and one personal. When you call the references, keep all questions objective. For the professional talk, ask about the person’s job performance and what they did at that job. For the personal talk, ask about the person’s character and work ethic.


Once you’ve hired your employees, you’re going to have quite a lot of paperwork to do. Here’s what to can expect.


You’ll need to decide a person’s wage and figure out how to classify the employee. While deciding what to pay your employee is entirely up to you, you should think about how much and how little you are willing to pay (some positions pay more than others), how you’ll pay (hourly or salary), and research the current market rates.

Once you’ve decided what and how you are going to pay employees, you’ll need to classify them.

“Depending on your hiring needs and finances, you'll need to determine the status of your new employee as being part time or full time,” Entrepreneur reports. “According to the U.S. Department of Labor, part-time workers are those who work 20 hours or less per week, while full-timers log in 30 hours or more. Because states differ on the payment of benefits to part-time employees, you should check corresponding regulations with your local department of labor. For tax reasons, you must categorize your worker as an independent contractor, common-law employee, statutory employee or statutory non-employee. Misclassification can result in fines equal to one-and-a-half percent of the questionable wages, plus the withholding taxes. Criminal charges can apply as well.”

Here’s a breakdown of the type of employees you could hire:

A common-law employee: You control when and where this employee works, and provide the equipment she uses. You also give that employee supplies.

A statutory employee: This employee is someone who “by statue” reports income and expenses as a business.

A statutory non-employee: This person is considered “self-employed for all federal tax purposes, including income and employment taxes.”

Independent contractor: This person works for his or her self, and often has many clients. She sends invoices for her services and you, as her employer, aren’t required to deduct her taxes or provide benefits.

After you’ve done all the previous tasks, make certain all your records are in order, that your employees have filled out all the correct forms, and that you have the right insurance coverage. For detailed information on this, read the Entrepreneur article we’ve referenced (entrepreneur.com/article/83774).