The Outdoor Industry Jobs Marketplace

Dynamic Interviewing Practices

by Charlon Bobo, Red Frog, Inc.

The pre-hiring process can be a challenge. If you’re reading this article, you are finished with the pre-hiring process and are looking for tips that will guide you through the interview.

Much time and energy can be invested and in the end, wasted, if your approach is not focused, deliberate, and specific. The following approaches have resulted in engaging, content-rich interviews providing us with a clear approach appropriate for each candidate.

The Interview

1. Arrange interviews with a least three applicants. Three gives you a well-rounded base from which you can choose the best one. Sometimes three isn’t enough, and you may need to place another ad or extend the application deadline, but it’s a good place to start.

2. Set appointment times close enough so that afterwards you remember details of each and can compare qualities of the applicants, but far enough apart so that applicants don’t “pass each other in the hall” thereby creating an awkward situation.

3. In advance prepare a form with the following (or similar) questions that will be completed by you during the interview:

  1. Where were you last employed?
  2. What type of business was it?
  3. Why did you leave?
  4. What are your strengths?
  5. What are your areas of improvement?
  6. What frustrates you most on-the-job?
  7. Give an anger scenario. How would you handle the situation?
  8. How would you resolve office personality conflicts? Give an example of a situation that has happened and how it was resolved.
  9. Give an example of having made a mistake and how you resolved it.
  10. Describe your ideal day on-the-job.
  11. What three words best describe you?
  12. What is your greatest professional asset?
  13. What is your greatest area of professional improvement?
  14. How do you spend your leisure hours? What are your hobbies/interests?
  15. Where do you expect to find yourself professionally in 5 years?
  16. What are your personal 10-20 year aspirations?

4. Asking odd questions is an excellent way to elicit a response that will indicate how the prospective employee may react on-the-job. It is a method that will show how well they can “think on their feet.” If this quality is important to you, ask unexpected/unusual questions!


1. After thanking each applicant for their time and excusing them, spend 5-10 minutes making personal notes about the applicant. This will trigger your memory later.

2. After completing all interviews, compare interview sheets/notes. Assign a number system if necessary to make an assessment that allows you to compare “apples to apples.”

3. Based on the results of interviews, make a final decision on which candidates will be invited to the office to be tested. During a 45-minute session, small tests are designed to test how applicants respond, how quickly they are able to grasp concepts, what type of questions they ask, etc.

4. After testing, a final decision is made and the chosen applicant is contacted via a personal telephone call.

5. Contact each of the other applicants (not being hired) and extend a personal message indicating that a final decision was made and that you wish them the best in their job search. This is a consideration not given to most applicants, but it leaves a positive impression. You may also indicate that if you search for additional help in the future, they are at the top of your list! And, they will probably remember you because you took the time to call.

6. The first item of business the first day of employment is to have employee sign an Agreement that includes details on issues of confidentiality and a 30-day trial period. This window of time can vary but this is an excellent way of ensuring both sides are compatible before making any long-term assumptions. Agreement should include details of expectations for both sides as well as a method of actions taken in the case of inappropriate actions/behavior before the person would officially be let go. The clearer the expectations, the better for everyone.

Following the guidelines provided, the interview process can be efficient and effective, resulting in quality staff additions that truly enhance your business. Keep in mind that your business is unique and additional groundwork is required to focus on specific questions that provide answers you need to make the best decision. Making thorough notes following each interview will ensure a clear recollection of each candidate when it comes time to select the best candidate for the job. Approach the interview process by adhering to the above guidelines, and expect a dynamic outcome as a result!