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  • Writer's pictureBurk Moreland


Dear Mr. Moreland: Please accept this letter and resume as indication of my interest in interviewing to work with you and your company. I have many qualifications… 

Thank you for your time and attention and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Sincerely, Your name here (It was really signed this way.) 

One of my favorite sayings is, “People generally don’t get better than they are on the first date.” 

Setting aside all the legal and practical reasons for NOT treating an interview as a first date, there are some notable similarities between the two. 

First impressions tell you a lot. 

In a dating situation, it is wise to understand that the person sitting across from you is not going to get better behaved, looking, cleaned, mannered, etc. This is the opportunity to impress and everyone tries his or her hardest during that first interaction, in hopes there will be a second. Over time, people generally get more and more comfortable and less and less concerned about impressions. Nevertheless, the initial characteristics, tendencies, and personality traits likely remain.

 • In the hiring process, the same is true. If the first impression isn’t the best, the candidate isn’t going to get much better in future encounters, much less if he or she were hired. While there are certainly exceptions, I remember hiring people despite reservations and having to go through the mental pain and anguish of firing them months later when those initial reservations reared their ugly heads.

No manager likes firing people.

Doing a better job on the front end is the first key to not having to fire someone. Be empowered during the interview process. Consider what skills and attributes you need to move your business forward and whether or not each applicant brings those to the table. Sometimes finding someone with the ability to learn and adapt quickly is more important than finding someone with precise technical knowledge. 

5 critical things to keep in mind in order to hire your dream team.

1. Make a commitment to finding and hiring the best people you can. 

2. Don’t be afraid to hire team members who could do your job, as well or better than you. 

3. Find people who will push your entire team (even you) to improve.

4. Look for people who have the ability to learn and develop. (Then teach and develop them.) 

5. Learn what it takes to keep someone of high caliber and put those things in place to minimize attrition. 

If your first impression is that the person you are interviewing might have potential, despite some rough edges, look very closely at those rough edges. Be realistic about what this person will be able to accomplish from day one and beyond and determine if he or she has more to learn than to contribute. 

If you choose to hire someone who will require a lot of training, make sure he or she is likely to be a good student, and be prepared to follow through.

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