Trying to "sell" candidates before you are sold on them
Too often, practices try to "sell" their opportunity without understanding a candidate's special interests or desires. Through their letters, emails or pre‐interview telephone conversations, allow candidates to reveal their goals and needs before you reveal much about the practice. This lets you evaluate them and more quickly eliminate those whose goals don't match yours. It also allows you to present your practice in a more appealing way to attractive candidates.
Are you checking references?
Always check references on candidates you are interested in meeting ‐‐ before you set up the interview. Assuming you can't talk to references in person, talk to them on the telephone. Never be satisfied with written letters of recommendation, since people will rarely express their reservations in writing and you have no opportunity to ask questions. When you talk with a reference, there is a wealth of information to be garnered from non‐verbal communication. Listen to what is not said, as much as to what is. Note voice inflections, hesitations in answering, or other tell‐tale signs that the reference is less than enthusiastic about the candidate. Have a list of prepared questions available to ask each reference. Then build on those questions, as appropriate, to learn all you can about the candidate and leave no issue unclear.
Don't Forget the spouse
In many cases, you will be dealing with a two income family, so find out the spouse's employment needs. Even spouses not working outside the home play a major role in making the candidate's practice choice. You should have a separate conversation with the candidate's spouse, perhaps even before entering serious discussions with the candidate.
Once you have chosen your ideal candidate, make an offer right away, preferably in writing. If the candidate has other offers, you want your practice opportunity to be under serious consideration as soon as possible. Alternatively, if the candidate has no other offers on the table, the candidate may well accept yours, without waiting for other possibilities and without much negotiation.