The Interview Process

Making the interview work for you


The interview can make or break a potential employee’s future with your organization. Job candidates judge you from the moment they walk into your facility; potential employees are wondering if they should really work for your company. When you are interviewing a candidate, your role is to “sell” your organization to that person by communicating the value your company provides, and that starts with proper planning for your interview.

Get Prepared

Prior to the interview, do you have a proper interview location set? Home base for many cleaning operations often is in the basement of a building. If possible, try to reserve space on a top floor where the atmosphere is inviting, since this is the potential employee’s first impression of you and your business. Do you have mints, water, or other items on hand to make the environment more welcoming? Does the interview space have proper lighting, seating, and an appropriate temperature to make the candidate as comfortable as possible? Since you are hiring a cleaning professional, it should go without saying that the space should be properly cleaned as well.

Your candidate might be nervous, but ensuring a proper interview atmosphere should help the candidate feel comfortable. If possible, try to set up the interview location at least a day prior to the candidate’s arrival.

Consider this: The interview starts the moment you wake up. Deciding what you are going to wear during your interview is important, as your personal appearance will be one of the first things the candidate notices. As a manager, supervisor, or business owner, you must present yourself as an authority figure—dress like one. Once you arrive at work, double check to make sure the interview space is set up to your specifications.

Get Off to a Good Start

Remember that once the potential employee enters the room, you are the “face” of the organization. Begin building a level of trust and respect with the candidate from the moment you meet. Start with a firm handshake and thank the individual for taking the time to meet with your organization.

As the interview begins, be aware of what you can and cannot ask a candidate in an interview situation from a legal perspective. Focus on open-ended questions that require candidates to come up with an answer that has some thought and insight.

Take Notes

An additional tool to use during the interview is an “interview questionnaire,” or a pre-populated list of questions. Have each candidate name pre-populated on the top and fill in their answers. Try to ask the same key questions to each candidate so you have a common starting point.

Beyond simply keeping track of a candidate’s answers, take note of body language, dress attire, eye contact, etc. A lot of information is conveyed through basic interactions of body language with the candidate.

As the interviewer, you want to make sure that you keep records of specific things that stand out about each candidate. Focus on two to three positive and negative features, respectively. Ask yourself, “Can I manage the negative features by utilizing their positive features?” Essentially, can you mold this employee into the person you need on your team?

In a previous career role, my boss would always tell me that the concept of “hire slow, fire fast” is very important when managing people. The hiring process should be slow moving, but not too slow when you have an immediate need. This includes the interview process as well. It should take a minimum of two or three interviews to hire the best candidate. If you find a perfect candidate during the process, be prepared to offer the position to the individual on the spot. As someone who has interviewed many candidates, the worst feeling is to let that perfect person slip through your fingers.

Remember: “Create the value to create the need.” If you provide value to the prospective employees, they will feel compelled to work for you.


Posted On December 29, 2015

Brant Insero

Brant Insero is ISSA’s senior director of Education, Training, Certification & Standards. With more than 15 years of professional training experience, he has instructed industry professionals within commercial cleaning, supply chain, telecommunications, retail, and financial vertical markets. For more information, visit

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