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Hiring is a bit of a catch-22. You are short-staffed, which is why you are hiring, but that also means you don’t have time to hire. I spent 8 years as the HR Director at Greenpeace, where I oversaw the recruiting for a staff of 500+ people. It took years to refine our process, but I finally found a system that works. 

Here are some tips to make sure you hire the right person! Some key things to think about first: 

  • The basics matter, especially for entry-level work. Showing up for work, being on time, and being communicative about issues are all essential. Remember, you don't need to hire someone who can do everything you can do
  • Identify exactly what you need filled. What is the easiest work to hand over to someone else?
  • Don't confuse experience with ability. Sometimes the best candidates don't have experience. The key is to make sure you test their skills

1. Define needs of the role / hiring criteria

Be sure to separate must-haves from nice-to-haves. We can use the example of a Retail Sales Associate to determine what we need from the candidate and characteristics we'd really like.


  • Interacts in a friendly and helpful manner
  • Reliable / shows up to work on time
  • High attention to detail 


  • Ability to create a neat and visually appealing display of products 
  • Diplomatic

2. Write a job description based on the criteria

Look online for examples — you don’t need to reinvent the wheel! Localwise has even put together some great job post templates that you can use.

3. Post the position

Through Localwise, of course!

4. Write interview questions based on the criteria

In most cases, the skills needed to interview well are quite different than the skills you need to hire for. If they are going to do data entry, have them do a data entry test or a typing test. If they’re going to do sales, ask them to pitch you on one of their favorite products for 60 seconds. We'll use the Retail Sales Associate position as an example: 

  • Interacts in a friendly and helpful manner: A customer walks into the store. Tell me what you’d say to them as though I’m the customer. 
  • Reliable / shows up to work on time: Tell me about a time you had to stick to a schedule.
  •  High attention to detail: Tell me about a time you’ve had work that required a lot of attention to detail. How did you make sure you didn’t make mistakes?
  •  Ability to create a neat and visually appealing display of products: Test this! Have them set up a display. Or have a display with a number of things out of place and ask them to neaten it up. 
  • Diplomatic: Customers can get frustrated at times. Can you tell me about a time you’ve had to calm down a tense situation?

5. Test their skills with homework

For more involved positions with longer-term projects, determine “homework” or assignments that test the skills that will be used in the job. For example, if they’ll be giving presentations in their role, give them a topic and ask them to prepare a 5-minute presentation.

 If you’d like help with management or hiring beyond posting (or career counseling), don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

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