Start-up Journal 02|Manage an interview with these 6 steps

One question always bother me when I start my own project. That is – how can I know this person/manufacturer/sales is suitable for this project? An easy answer will be – “simple, arrange an interview.” But what exactly are we looking for in this interview? How to conduct a successful and efficient interview?

I summarise my approach in the following (to make it simpler for you to read, I use A to represent the other part, be it your employee, manufacturer or sales):

  1. Small talks.
    In this part, you can get a feel of A’s energy. I use “energy” instead of “personality” because during the interview, especially when it’s job-related, people will hide their true self. In this situation, if we jump to the conclusion that this person is definitely a so-and-so, it will enlarge the risk that we find a wrong person. But you can surely tell one’s energy, whether A’s energetic, bored or happy, you can then adjust your communication tactics correspondingly. It will smooth the remaining interview process.
  2. A brief introduction of my own project.
    When you are introducing your project, observe A’s reaction. Notice when A’s nodding or pressed his/her lips together, or even put a finger on top of his/her lips. This observation will tell you to what A agrees with, supports and to what A has a second opinion on. When you notice that, you can then ask more specific questions afterwards.
  3. Learn about A.
    Ask about A’s background. If you are talking to the representative of a company or factory, ask about the history of the company or factory. If A’s a specialist, e.g. an illustrator, a copy writer or a translator, ask about where they acquire the skills or knowledge and how many clients they serve or their past portfolio.
  4. Align the needs of each other.
    Point out exactly what you are looking for in A. Articulate your expectation or your criteria. For example, when I was looking for manufacturer, I will list out the certifications I expected to see, their facilities, their R&D team capability etc. After this, listen or see how they respond, can they meet that goal? Are they willing to work with you?
    The time you need to spend on this step depends on the scale of your project. Sometimes you need to pay a site visit to verify your assumptions. In this case, the timeframe will be dragged long.
  5. Money talk.
    Ask about their expectation on money and make a counter offer. Be honest, reasonable and flexible.
  6. Specify the next steps.
    This is the last step of the interview. Tell A what will happen next. If A is what you are looking for and A happens to choose you (remember it is a mutual conversation), then go ahead and confirm the details. If this meeting fails to find the right person, no worries, keep A as a contact. Maybe opportunity will come around and you two will work together later.

So here it is my 6 steps. What’s your steps in seeking the suitable A? I would love to hear your techniques. 🙂

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