By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Gallatin, TN

Hiring the right people is critical in the business valuation industry.  Not only are there fewer to choose from, a mismatch can end up costing you dearly in both time and money.  Paul Falcone provides guidance to your interviewing process in his book, “96 Great Interview Questions To Ask BEFORE You Hire”.

Falcone, currently Director of International Human Resources for Paramount Pictures, has produced another in his series of books under the American Management Association imprint, AMACOM.  As the cover of the book promises, he will help you identify high-performance job candidates, probe beyond superficial answers, spot “red flags” indicating evasions or untruths, get references to provide real information, and negotiate job offers to attract winners.

Throughout the book, Falcone follows a pattern of introducing the actual question, then talking about why you should ask this particular question.  This approach takes you beyond any simple listing of questions and helps you understand the logic behind the question.  He continues with coaching on how to analyze the response.  This includes a look at what constitutes a good answer to the question, as well as the “red flags” to listen for.  He adds value by taking the reader yet another step further, suggesting ways to get more mileage out of the question with more in-depth probing.

Falcone opens with a section reviewing typical interview questions and their interpretations.  Next, he reviews questions aimed at measuring the candidate’s awareness of her accomplishments, followed by questions designed to challenge the candidate to assess herself.  He goes on to cover questions about career stability, patterns of progression and issues of compatibility with your organization.

Recognizing that one size doesn’t fit all, Falcone suggests interview questions for staff as well as senior management, along with questions for administrative personnel and secretaries, and for sales people.  He even touches on the particularly challenging task of interviewing the campus recruit.

In a section on selecting candidates and making the offer, Falcone describes reference-checking scenarios as they apply to the professional/technical, senior management and administrative support staff candidate.  His recommended queries are useful and practical in terms of gauging a candidate’s historical work patterns and providing future insights regarding optimal management techniques.  His discussion of approaches to preparing the candidate for accepting your offer are grounded in reality, and constitutes some of the most valuable advice to be found in the book.

Falcone’s closing chapter includes practical advice for brief, yet productive, telephone screening.  He also includes a list of questions to avoid at all costs, in order to stay within the law when interviewing.

96 Questions is a practical handbook to guide you in more successful interviewing.  It is available through most on-line booksellers, or the American Management Association.

John Borrowman