Carvin's Rules for Hiring the Best

September 17, 2013 | By Beth N. Carvin

These rules are designed to be used as Red Flags when screening resumes/applications and interviewing applicants. A red flag is an area that may or may not be a concern but MUST be explored further with the applicant. The Interviewer should probe further until they determine that:

  1. There is a reasonable explanation for the Red Flag or
  2. That the candidate is lacking in certain desired character traits.
The (diligent) Interviewer MUST keep asking the questions until they are satisfied one way or another.

  1. If they look too good to be true, they might be. Explore further.
  2. A negative person spends time complaining; not working.
  3. If the problem that caused them to leave their last position exists in your company, common sense says they will also leave your company.
  4. People do change, but don't assume you or your company have the power to create that change.
  5. If someone had problems in the past, it is not unlikely that they will have similar problems in the future.
  6. Trouble tends to follow people around.
  7. If you choose to hire someone out of charity, (or because the bosses tell you too), recognize and accept the risks of your choice.
  8. A detailed oriented person does not have lots of cross-outs and blanks on their applications.
  9. If they Job Hopped in the past, what makes you think they won't job hop in the future?
  10. Neatness counts in an interview.
  11. There are some people that are both good with paperwork/details and good with people but most that are really good in one, are generally not so good with the other.
  12. If their email address is, they probably are.
  13. They are going to have to really like your job/company a lot to travel over an hour to work for a sustained period of time.
  14. If they can't spell, they don't read. If they don't read, they don't think.
  15. Always question the dates of employment (by asking how long they were at each job), it's the #1 item that applicants "exaggerate" on.
  16. Always ask if they can provide proof of salary if it looks inflated, it's the #2 item that applicants "exaggerate" on.
  17. When interviewing, ALWAYS ask reasons for leaving for each job. It provides the most important information for making your selection.
  18. If you ask what they like best and least, you will get more honest information on what they are good and not so good at than if you ask strengths and weaknesses.
  19. If they had difficulties working with co-workers, there's a good chance they will have difficulties with your co-workers.
  20. If they didn't like their last Manager, what makes you think they will like you?
  21. If they were fired in the past, it was probably their fault. (Regardless of the story that they tell you.)
  22. If they were laid off but the company didn't close, Why were they not selected to stay?
  23. A lay-off is often to clean out "dead wood".
  24. If they left the last job for more $$, how often will they be expecting raises from you?
  25. Most people don't quit over money, they just don't want to tell you the real reason.
  26. If they are looking for "better opportunity", when will your opportunity no longer seem better?
  27. If they say they don't want to work overtime, don't hire them for a job requiring overtime.
  28. If they put a skill on their resume, it doesn't mean the are proficient in it. Probe further.
  29. If they didn't like the long hours or commute at one of their past jobs, why will they accept the long commute or hours at your job?
  30. If they are in sales, ask them to name some of the titles or authors in their personal self development library. If they don't have any, they are not serious about being a success. (credit to Brian Tracy, Psychology of Sales for this one.)
  31. Find out the singularly most important thing they are looking for. If your company/position doesn't offer this, don't hire them. If it's compensation, definitely don't hire them.
  32. Do you want the applicant with the fishy handshake shaking your clients' hands?
  33. Don't expect them to want to work for your company if you tell them only the negatives.
  34. Get references from past supervisors, not from friends and acquaintances on their reference list.
  35. None of the above rules apply to applicants right out of high school or college. It often takes a couple of years and a couple of jobs to find their niche. Decide carefully if you might be their niche.