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Interview Strategies

Interview Strategies

Interviewing candidates is not easy.  For most companies, they don’t have a professional HR department or Interview expert.

So, we thought it would be good to investigate some proven strategies.

One of those is called the SWAN formula, named after John Swan, an executive recruiter. These letters also stand for Smart, Works hard, Ambitious, and Nice.


Smart:  Successful people are smart, especially when it comes to the skills and competencies required for their specific job. People who have a gift for their particular job tend to work faster, make fewer mistakes, and are more productive.

And how do you tell if a person is “smart”? Simple. They ask a lot of questions. The questions should demonstrate a passion for your business and, depending on the job, the skills that are necessary to succeed in that role.


Works hard:  People who actually want to “work hard” are more successful at their jobs. The basic rule is that “the leopard doesn’t change its spots” or another way “people rarely change”.  A person who is unaccustomed to hard work is not suddenly going to metamorphosis before your eyes.

Since the seventies, here in our western culture, most people have worked longer hours.  Ok where not in the early industrial revolution, or sweat shops.  However regardless of the longer hours, successful organizations need people that are willing to work hard and actually be effective in their role.  Most leaders spend seventy hours plus a week, including their weekends and holidays, to survive in today’s competitive environment.

To do this, you have to love what you do.  The results when you don’t:  Mediocre effort at best, though more likely to be disgruntled and frustrated which leads to a variety of problems.  The ‘Dilbert cubicle life’ is ending for most organizations.  The millennial generation typically does not want this lifestyle.


Ambitious:  Candidates should be “ambitious” and able to demonstrate to you why they want this particular job. Find people who are anxious to be effective and ambitious about this assignment, not some future promotion or benefit. The more that the job candidate looks upon the potential job as an opportunity to perform well and then move ahead, the better they will do the job from day one.


Nice:   When we say “nice,” in this case, we mean people who are positive, cheerful, easy to get along with, and supportive of others. They fit within the culture of your organization. Their beliefs are in alignment with your values and the customers your organization serves.


This means you have found a person the team can trust and enjoys having around.



Successful teams are composed of diverse, impassioned people who may have only a few things in common: SWAN. They are smart and savvy, hardworking, ambitious, and nice in a constructive way that adds value.

What Interview Strategies have you used?  Please let us know.

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