“It is a mistake to hire huge numbers of people to get a complicated job done. Numbers will never compensate for talent in getting the right answer (two people who don’t know something are no better than one), will tend to slow down progress, and will make the task incredibly expensive.” — Elon Mask

There is always a concern when choosing the right candidate. How can you tell after a couple of interviews?

Recently, I provided HR performance consulting services for a retail company in Europe. You would think a company that has been in the market for over 20 years should not have any difficulties managing personnel. However, businesses currently operate in a very different world with circumstances other than the pre-Covid business scene. We have to be aware of those circumstances and change the way we approach certain things in business.

Human resources is not an exception. Additionally, it became harder to find candidates that are qualified for certain professions and niches; as such, if your resources are limited, but you want to keep your high standards of personnel and hire a top-notch specialist, what should you do?

I won’t go into the details of standard hiring procedures, testing, and resume reviews. However, from my personal experience, there are several critically important points to look at when you interview a potential hire, as noted below:

  • Productivity

Below, we will review these points in greater detail.


Unfortunately, I’ve encountered too many instances when a job candidate doesn’t think that they have to produce a specific product at their job. Many employees at nine-to-five jobs get into a daily routine of the same activities and don’t always realize that they are there to create a specific valuable product.

Any position at any level of an organization has a particular purpose, functions, and final product. Whether it’s a sales manager providing their client with the necessary information and assisting them in purchasing a service, or it’s a cleaner whose product is the highest image created by clean and nice-looking business premises — there is always a valuable product.

Your candidate must be able to answer such questions as “what was the valuable product that you have produced at your previous job?” and “how did you measure the quantity and quality of your product?”.

If they can’t answer that, expect the same attitude towards their work at your company.

Furthermore, you have to pay attention to what your candidate says they specifically did to create that product. One common error of a recruiter is to think that they are hiring a very productive candidate, when in fact, they just winged their way through your interview by telling you all about various products that other people in their department produced. Do thoroughly check your candidate on this point of their personal productivity. “Mr. Jones, it is great that your marketing department of ten people created this successful marketing campaign. But exactly what did you do? What was your product?” Questions like that will help to identify the productive candidates from all the rest.

I can’t stress enough how important this step is for any recruiter. Doing just this one step will save you hours and hours of effort, finances, and future headaches working with unproductive unqualified personnel.


Give your candidate a hypothetical situation to solve. What is their approach to solving the problem? This test is often helpful to identify your candidate’s approach to their job.

For example, let’s say you give your employee a task. It’s a complex, almost impossible target with a very tight timeline. If your employee is a “problem maker,” they would immediately throw this target back at you with numerous questions or “can’t be done” type of comments. If your employee is a “problem solver,” they would try to figure out how it CAN be done. And even if the target is virtually impossible, they would still come up with some idea of at least partial performance. They would try to keep this problem off the management’s plate. The response from the “problem solver” candidate is the kind of response you should desire.

There is more to consider about the factors I laid out at the beginning of this article. Clap and follow for upcoming Part II.

Note: My article is based only on my observations and personal experience with hiring and staff performance. I have successfully hired over 800 professionals for numerous positions in companies and organizations in Europe and the United States. The purpose is to share and make use of my experience.

Business Consultant | Effective Hiring & Management Solutions | Founder at Estab Pro Management