Selecting the Right Individual for Your Team


In the previous article, we covered what you should be looking for to find the right candidate for your team. Now that you�ve attracted a large number of potential superstars, you�ll need to select the one you want for your job opening.

In my last article, we covered what you should be looking for to find the right candidate for your team, and now that you’ve attracted a large number of potential superstars, you’ll need to select the one you want for your job opening. I know this isn’t easy, but with a little know-how, you’ll find it to be far less painful than you might expect.

The interview process is designed to be simple, systematic, and efficient. Most importantly, though, it’s designed to help you accomplish your mission: to hire the most highly qualified individual available for each job opening according to the criteria described in previous articles.

Even before the job is posted on job boards or other databases, teach your staff members to say the following to any applicant who calls: “NAME is the person you want to talk to. He’s busy right now, but he’ll be returning your call between 7 and 9 pm. At what number can he best reach you?” (If not feasible that evening, find out which other evening is feasible—or where else he or she can be reached that evening). You, of course, can choose any time you want regarding returned phone calls; however, you’ll probably get to the largest number of people if you call during the early evening.

At the end of each day, gather all names and phone numbers. Then be certain to return all calls within the hours designated. This phone call represents your first interview. You want to quickly eliminate those who either aren’t totally qualified, or who, at the very least, aren’t your top candidates.

You’ll also receive resumes via email, which allows you to weed out unqualified candidates rather quickly. The ones that survive that elimination process will be the individuals you want to talk to by phone, just as you’ll be calling those who responded via phone call.

The following procedure is designed to be the heart and soul of the hiring process, enabling you to use your time efficiently, while making it easy for you to choose the best applicant.

Three Stages of Interviewing

  • You first want to eliminate the unqualified applicants and identify the top 3 candidates. This first interview should be only 2 or 3 minutes long.
  • The second interview is a more comprehensive face-to-face interview given only to the top 3 or 4 candidates selected from the first interview. This interview usually lasts about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • The third interview is the final get-together for purpose of making arrangements to bring your top candidate aboard to fill the job opening.

The First Interview

The first interview, usually by phone or Skype, should be short and sweet. You want to be as efficient as possible in finding out whether or not each applicant is qualified to handle the job. Therefore, it’s a one-sided conversation in which you ask a series of questions as you determine the qualifications of each candidate from each candidate. It’s part of your process of elimination.

Ask questions. You want the applicant to be talking 75% of the time, so that you can assess his or her abilities and skills. No matter what the job, you want to determine how she sounds to other people. This discovery is evermore true when that individual has regular customer contact. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Are you currently employed?
  • Tell me about your last job. What did you like about it? What did you dislike about it?
  • At which job did you learn the most? What did you learn?
  • Do you have any problems standing on your feet for hours at a time, if necessary?
  • What sort of entry level salary are you seeking (make certain you emphasize entry level—you may also indicate that it’s for only the first 90 days)?

Use questions that’ll help you determine whether or not that individual is someone you would like to be part of your team, whether it’s an entry-level or a professional position. For each applicant separately. Have your questions typed up, with room at the top for the candidate’s name, phone number, and a rating.

At the end of the interview (which should only be 2 to 3 minutes), rate the applicant on a 1 to 10 scale based on how valuable you think he or she is and jot this number down on the top of the page. Keep in mind that you’re primarily looking for 3 qualities. These are the qualities that an individual must bring to the job. They cannot be taught. They cannot be learned on the job. Your top applicant either has them or doesn’t.

  • Drive and determination to succeed.
  • Willingness to learn.
  • Ability to learn—and retain new information.

If, in the process of asking questions, you determine that the candidate isn’t at all qualified, then at that particular point—whether it be in the middle of the interview or at the end—tell the applicant that you’re looking for a different set of qualifications wish him or her luck in the job search.

On the other hand, if you find someone of interest to you—one whom you’ve scored at 8.0 or higher—you may want to let that person know you’re interested and that you’ll be getting back to him or her (ideally within 24 to 48 hours) to set up a second interview. For all others, who perhaps are a little bit less than your desired standard of excellence, tell them, “I have other telephone interviews to conduct. Should you be one of the top three, I shall be happy to contact you in 3 to 4 days to set up a person-to-person interview.” And be certain to keep your word about when you’ll call back.

It’s important to remember, especially during periods of severe labor shortages, that you should act swiftly in the process of going from phone call response, to first interview, to second interview, to hiring.

While you shouldn’t hire too quickly or irrationally, you should move systematically through the process as quickly as possible. To do otherwise may allow your top candidates to be scooped up by other companies seeking good employees. Tight labor markets dictate swift action.

In my next article, we’ll discuss the second interview. Included will be the critical things to doduring this first face-to-face discussion to continue the process of elimination as you close in on choosing “the one” to hire. Included will be a few very significant questions as you further pursue this efficient and effective process of hiring a new team member.

The Pharmacy Sage can be reached at (518) 346-7021 or

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