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Business Operations / Sonny's-Carwash College™ Tip of the Month

The Interview Process - Part 1

CarWash College™ Tip of the Month

July 30, 2010
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This month I am presenting part one of a two-part tip – The Interview Process. In this month’s tip we will cover preparing for the interview, review some sample reference questions, identify physical areas for conducting an interview and finally, we will establish an interview agenda. Next month, I will present Part 2 where I will address how to probe for traits and characteristics of a potential employee and why this is important. I’ll provide sample interview questions and lastly, we’ll wrap up the interview process.

The interview process is not meant to be done for process’ sake. There is both a purpose to doing an interview and a measurable outcome that you must attain by the end of the interview. The purpose of conducting interviews is to fulfill your car wash staff needs. The measurable outcome of an interview is to gather enough information about a candidate to make an educated decision as to whether or not to hire that candidate. Therefore, neither the purpose, nor the measurable outcome of an interview is to actually hire!

  1. Preparation

    Solid preparation is critical to the success of your interview. To appear relaxed, confident, and capable, you must be prepared. Here’s what you should do before the interview:

    1. Initial logistics:
      1. The following should be covered upon your initial contact with the candidate, whether by phone or in person:
        1. Verify candidate’s name and phone number.
        2. Ask if they have a resume. If they don’t have a resume, ask where to fax/e-mail an application.
        3. Give them your fax/e-mail in order to get the completed application back at least 2 days before the interview.
        4. Set up the interview date.
        5. Tell the candidate where to go, what time, what to wear, how long it will take, and what to bring.
        6. Make sure that the candidate knows your name and how to reach you.
      2. Schedule an interview room (if necessary).
      3. Schedule interviews with candidates that you’ve received resumes or applications from.
    2. Call references on applications or resumes.

      Note reference responses on the interview prep sheet.

      This can be the most valuable step in preparation for the interview. If performed properly, a reference check can add invaluable insight to your knowledge of the candidate. Having this information before the interview makes the interview that much more productive.

  2. Sample questions for references
    1. “Was this person ever late for work? How often? Why?”
    2. “Would you hire this person again? Why or why not?”
    3. “What specific responsibilities did the candidate have?”
    4. “How many hours a week did the person work? Ever put in any overtime?”
    5. “How was the quality of this person’s work? Ever told to re-do a task?”
    6. “Was this person hard working?”
    7. “Would you recommend this person for a physically demanding job?”
    8. “Can you tell me anything else?”
  3. Set-up
    1. Appropriate setting

      There are a number of acceptable settings. The car wash property, classrooms, conference rooms, hotel rooms, your home, or a restaurant are all acceptable venues if they are quiet settings in which you will not be interrupted.

    2. Establish rapport

      Find common ground with the candidate. Discuss areas of interest including sports, current events, mutual friends, and if all else fails, the weather! It is well worth taking a few minutes to build rapport with the candidate for a few reasons.

      First, it will put the candidate at ease. A candidate at ease will be more likely to open up during the course of the interview and provide you with the concrete information that you will need to ultimately make a hiring decision.

      Secondly, rapport building enables you to establish the foundation for a working relationship in the event that you hire the candidate. Remember, part of your hiring decision comes down to “Do I like this person?” and “Can I work with this person?” If you have built some rapport with the candidate, you will be able to answer these questions more accurately.

    3. Agenda

      Take the candidate through what the interview will consist of:

      1. How long
      2. Format/setting expectations

      When the candidate can ask questions, knowing what to expect will help to put the candidate at ease. At the same time, your organized approach will make a strong impression.

Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College™. Robert can be reached at RAndre@carwashcollege.com. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit www.CarWashCollege.com or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.