A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC) at the University of Wyoming.

By Piper LeMoine, WSBDC Office Associate

Poor hiring choices are expensive. What do I look for in employees to ensure they will be successful on the job? Tom, Cheyenne.

Before you even begin accepting applications, it is important to analyze your personnel situation and the job itself. Do you need another employee, and can your business afford them? Have you evaluated the job’s essential functions and written a detailed job description? Have you determined the “going rate” for a similar position in your community or region and decided on a competitive wage or salary to offer? Do you know where and how to recruit qualified applicants? Once you have answered these questions, you can advertise the job and begin accepting applications.

After reviewing the application materials of your candidates and scheduling interviews for those qualified for the position, the SBA recommends that you follow some guidelines to get the most out of the interviewing process.

You should prepare in advance for the interview by knowing what you want in a candidate before you begin the interview, and knowing the job and its responsibilities. Also, prepare a list of appropriate standard questions (remember: if it’s not job-related, don’t ask!), and an evaluation form listing prioritized and measurable criteria for comparing the candidates after the interviews.

It is also advised that you collect pertinent information during the interview by asking questions that focus on the candidate’s past performances and specific problems related to the job, observing how they listen and respond to the questions asked, their choice of words and non-verbal behavior and the questions they ask you. Write down details as soon as possible to help distinguish among the candidates and help you remember the interview clearly.

The SBA further recommends that you look and act professionally during the interview, be courteous and respectful, facilitate open communication, and especially, treat all candidates fairly. Detailed information and guidelines on hiring can be found at the SBA Web site,


The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question call 1-800-348-5194, (307) 766-3505, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu, or write Dept. 3922, 1000 East University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071-3922. Additional help is available at the WSBDC web page, www.uwyo.edu.

Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2004

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