April 2013    


In our December 2012 newsletter, we explored key steps in the hiring practices, with a focus on properly developing detailed job requirements and using recruiting platforms to screen candidates. A careful screening process will narrow the field, making the time spent on interviews more productive. When interviewing, you will want to put the remaining candidates on a level playing field, so you will have a sound basis for evaluating your finalists before you make your hiring decision. In this newsletter, we offer suggestions for conducting effective interviews.

We hope you find these ideas helpful, and we encourage you to forward this newsletter to anyone you think might find this information valuable.

As always, your comments are welcome, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Tom Beane, President CMC CIRA


Tip Sheet

Establish key job competencies.

Design interview questions that focus on these competencies.

Have multiple interviewers asking the same questions and applying the same standards in their evaluations.

Drill down for more detailed responses.

Take good notes and write up a summary of each interview as soon as it is completed.

Assemble the entire interview team to discuss the candidates and make a final evaluation.


  Structured interviewing: key to good hiring
By Millard Brown

It doesn't take long for managers with hiring responsibilities to categorize the candidates they have interviewed. Some are natural salesmen, relying heavily on personal charm to build a rapport as they try to land their dream job. Some are storytellers, filled with engaging anecdotes about past accomplishments. Others are all business, rattling off credentials like reading bullet points from a memo. Some managers may prefer one personality type over another, leading them to choose candidates based on comfort level rather than on who would make the best fit in the position.

There is a way to avoid falling into this trap.

The technique we recommend is called the structured interview, which means, in essence, asking each candidate the same core questions so that you can objectively compare and contrast responses in order to determine the most qualified applicant for the position. In today's litigious employment environment, structured interviews have the benefit of being more defensible if a hiring decision is challenged.

The process starts well before the interview, by going back to the summary of job requirements developed at the start of the search process. From that summary identify three to six core competencies that you want to assess, and prepare one to three questions about each competency. Questions should be open-ended and provide you with the opportunity to follow up to get more detailed responses. You want to be able to use the responses to assess social and interpersonal skills, the ability to think critically and make effective decisions, and organizational fit.

You may find it worthwhile to develop a rating scale, perhaps a 1 to 5 ranking, with 1 being poor, 3 average and 5 outstanding. If you do, set specific benchmarks for each possible ranking so your scoring will be both comprehensive and objective.

As the hiring manager, you may create the questions yourself, or you may seek input from other members of the interviewing team. Yes, you should take a team approach to the interview process. Figure on at least three interviews – one with you, one with another manager, and one with your supervisor or with someone who would be one of the candidate's peers if he or she is hired. The higher the position in your company's hierarchy, the more interviews you schedule. READ MORE

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Situation:A privately held injection molding company found itself unable to compete due to increased domestic manufacturing costs and eroding margins.

Result: The owner retained Beane Associates to maximize recovery by orderly winding down his business in an effort to ensure full repayment on debt. We assisted the company with building and implementing a 13-week liquidation budget and conducting a thorough analysis of ongoing WIP. We also assisted with the collection of accounts receivable, which enabled the owner to exit with a significantly reduced liability to the secured lender.


Situation: Secured lender requested Beane Associates review operations and management, including a review of borrowing base certificates, for an assembler of aftermarket truck parts.

Result: Beane Associates conducted a thorough analysis of financial documents and collateral while interviewing key personnel. We discovered that inaccurate financial information was being submitted to the bank, resulting in advances being made out of formula.


Situation: A custom millwork and fabrication firm with a forward-thinking owner asked Beane Associates to provide an overview of his business by conducting a thorough review of the company and its operations. The business had a history of high profitability but the declining economy and a reduced demand for high-end custom product had forced the owner to personally fund operations. He was considering a complete shutdown.

Result: Beane Associates provided a detailed overview report that resulted in creating a job cost system methodology and a weekly cash management program that improved profitability and cash flow. The business streamlined and reorganized to emphasize new channels to market and realized improved core business efficiencies in pricing and operations. The owner recovered his personal debt and maintained the business.


Situation: An importer of construction materials had allegedly committed fraud related to overbilling and pre-billing of invoices and continued to be uncooperative after agreeing to wind down his business.

Result: The secured creditor retained Beane Associates to assist with an orderly wind-down of the business. While conducting our initial review, we discovered additional borrowing base inaccuracies. Weekly on-site presence and monitoring allowed for a prompt selling of assets and collection of outstanding accounts receivable. This greatly improved recovery and provided for a reduction in the loss originally anticipated by the secured creditor.


Situation: A regional family-owned commercial sign company was experiencing major cash-flow problems due to changes in product mix and payment terms and had drawn down a significant portion of its available line of credit.

Result: The secured creditor retained Beane Associates to work with the company to build a 13-week cash flow, review the sales order backlog and perform a viability analysis. With the assistance of the data we provided, the secured creditor gained a comfort level and entered into a short-term forbearance with the business. This arrangement facilitated the company being refinanced within three months of the start of the engagement.


Situation: A regional snack food manufacturer had experienced losses for three consecutive years and was being pressured by the secured lender to exit.

Result: The company retained Beane Associates to assist with a review of operations with suggestions for improvement, in order to return the company swiftly to profitability. The immediate implementation of a true 13-week cash flow helped the company develop a new direction and re-establish creditability with the secured lender. This resulted in entering into a forbearance agreement with a favorable debt structure that provided the time necessary to solidify operations and eventually find alternate financing.

About Beane Associates, Inc.

Founded in 1984, Beane Associates, Inc. continues to build an impressive track record in helping private and publicly owned companies improve operational effectiveness and profitability during a time of financial challenge. The company has offices in Wilmington, DE, and Atlanta, GA.

22 The Commons, 3518 Silverside Road, Wilmington, DE 19810-4907
Phone: 302.479.5438 Fax: 302.479.5434