Interviewing in a Social Environment

There are a couple of reasons why you should take candidates from your hiring shortlist out for lunch or dinner and neither reason has to do with feeding a starving salesperson.

I recommend that you hold at least one of your interviews in a social environment. Here’s why:

1. The candidate may feel more relaxed and will be even more open and free with information during this type of relaxed interview setting. In addition to making note of their general manners, watch how they deal with the serving staff. Are they courteous or condescending? It gives you some indication of how they might act with other people.

2. If you expect your new salesperson to be meeting prospects or clients in a social setting, this is a great way to see how he or she reacts in that setting. Is the candidate comfortable in a social setting or somewhat awkward? Will he make your customers feel comfortable? How do you feel?

3. One last thing to watch for is the person’s drinking habits. While you can’t always tell if the candidate has a drinking problem, it may alert you to things to come. As the old WW-2 saying went, “loose lips sink ships,” Well, sometimes alcohol can cause loose lips which can sink a person’s career if he starts badmouthing a former employer or competitor.