Hiring Staff: Do’s and Don’ts

The hiring process can be challenging. These tips make it easier.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Cassie Gasaway

Are you ready to hire your first employee? Are you in the market to hire more staff? Before diving into the hiring process, read these do’s and don’ts to ensure success.

Use our sample job descriptions for your business. Photo Credit: ATA

1. Do write a thorough job description

A well-written job description ensures you attract quality candidates. Thorough job details also reduce questions candidates have about the position.

If you need help writing a job description, the ATA can assist. Log into the ATA’s Resource Website for sample job descriptions. Click here for login instructions.


2. Do advertise in multiple places

To find ideal candidates, expand your search. Post the job on your website and social-media outlets. Then, go further. Ask local universities and technical schools to post the position. Consider posting it on a job site, or as a classified ad in shoppers or newspapers. Compare which job-search platforms are most popular in your area. Check ad costs. Pick affordable platforms with good traffic.


3. Don’t let interviews take over 45 minutes

Most in-person job interviews last 30 to 45 minutes. Create a schedule that accounts for introductions, a brief job description, questions for and from the interviewee, a job-site and building tour, and a next-steps review of the interview process.

As the interviewer, try to control the conversation and always transition the interview forward. Some people give lengthy answers, while others are short and abrupt. Keep the discussion on track for talkative folks, and encourage to-the-point candidates to expand their answers. Listen closely and ask follow-up questions to receive more information and show you’re paying attention.

Make sure you have your interview questions prepared beforehand. Photo Credit: Aspirare

4. Do prepare your questions

Brainstorm and write down your questions before the interview. Ask your questions in order from most important to least important to ensure you have time to cover everything of higher priority. Ask candidates the same questions so you can compare their answers. Focus your questions on skills they need to succeed in the prospective job. Questions that reveal their character are also important. Consider these examples:

–  How would you deal with a pushy or angry customer?
–  Tell me about a time you were stressed at work. What did you do?
–  Describe a time you found it challenging to be honest.

Avoid personal questions, but test the applicant’s knowledge of your business and the industry. General questions could include:

–  Why did you apply for this position?
–  Where do you see yourself in five years in terms of a career?
–  What can you bring to this position that other candidates might lack?
–  What’s your favorite part about [business]?
–  Why should we hire you?


5. Don’t interview applicants alone

Select at least one business counterpart to conduct the interview(s) with you. A three-person panel is usually ideal unless your business is small. Extra interviewers can help you make judgment calls and hiring decisions.

With an interview panel and multiple candidates, consider a formal scoring rubric to rank or judge applicants. Include timeliness, appearance, attentiveness, mannerisms and answer quality on the scorecard.

If other staff members can’t participate in the interviews, take each applicant on a short business tour to meet other employees. Watch how they interact, and ask your employees for their first impressions.


6. Don’t rule out applicants who lack archery depth

Your ideal hire has the skills, personality and work ethic to perform the job, even if they know little about archery. If you need a salesperson, hire a salesperson. If you need a marketing specialist, hire a marketing specialist. It’s best to hire someone with skills you need, and then teach them about archery and train them to succeed. Just make sure you fill the job quickly enough to allow proper training before you get busy.

Caution: It’s tempting to hire people you know, but it might not be the best move for your business or the friendship. Make sure the person has the skills to succeed.


7. Do allow the interviewee to ask questions

You want a good employee, and they want a good employer. Just as you’re allowed to ask questions to inform your decision, they should be granted the same courtesy to inform theirs. You’re not the only person with a choice to make.

Plus, by allowing candidates to ask questions, you might learn if they’re more passionate about the pay or the work. You might also learn if they’ve researched you and or your company, which helps gauge how serious they are about the job.


8. Do understand the position – and its pay, tasks and benefits

Be prepared to discuss the job, your expectations and compensation. A thorough job description should help you understand what you’re seeking and answer candidate questions in advance, but it might also prompt further questions. You must be able to answer them.

Be realistic about what you offer in pay and benefits. Compensation can dictate the talent you attract. Get creative to boost the job’s benefits without breaking your budget. Consider offering time off, generous discounts, and paid training and certifications.

The ATA has official MyATA service providers who offer discounts on benefits like life, dental and medical insurance for ATA members. Click here to learn more.

If you know if you've found the right candidate, don't hesitate to make them an offer. Photo credit: Peoplebank

9. Don’t take too long to fill the job

If you snooze, you lose. Many applicants apply for multiple jobs. If you procrastinate, you might miss out on the ideal candidate. After completing your interviews, weigh your options with your panel. Decide on your top choice and offer the job within seven days. If the interviews didn’t go as expected, repost your job description if the market is big enough.


10. Do notify applicants about your decision

Job applicants deserve respect. Conduct effective, ongoing communication with all applicants throughout the interview process. It’s respectful to notify applicants by mail, phone or email if you didn’t select them for your job. Rejections can be hard to deliver, but they improve your business’s brand and reputation.

If you need help creating an offer letter, a rejection letter, or other documents in the hiring process, contact the ATA’s Outreach and Education team.

Nicole Nash, ATA’s range and retail programs manager, can offer tips, advice and assistance for promoting your job and interviewing candidates. Her email is

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