Episode 68

Getting the Most Out of Your Interviews

with Matthew Burr

Brought to you by your hosts:

Hannah Brenner
L&D Specialist
Derek Smith
L&D Specialist
With special guest:
Matthew Burr | Burr Consulting
Matthew Burr has over 13 years of experience working in the human resources field, starting his career as an Industrial Relations intern at Kennedy Valve Manufacturing to most recently founding and managing a human resource consulting company; Burr Consulting, LLC and Co-Owner of Labor Love, a Labor and Employment Law poster printing company. Prior to founding the consulting firm, the majority of his career was spent in manufacturing and healthcare. He specializes in labor and employment law, conflict resolution, performance management, and labor and employment relations. Matthew has a generalist background in HR and provides strategic HR services to his clients, focusing on small and medium sized organizations. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate level business courses at Elmira College and is also the SHRM Certification Exam Instructor. He also acts as an On-Call Mediator and Factfinder through the Public Employment Relations Board in New York State, working with public sector employers and labor unions.


In this month’s episode of The BizLibrary Podcast, we sat down with Matthew Burr, an HR consultant with over 13 years of experience working in HR. Matthew shared some of his insights around interviewing, a topic that many organizations find themselves surrounded by in the midst of the current job market.

Matthew gave a few of his key insights – first, he discussed the importance of honesty in the interview process.

Using Kmart as an example, Matthew talked about the absolute need for interviewers to paint an accurate picture of the challenges and obstacles in a job, and discover first if a given candidate is up to the task of working through those challenges.

This may turn away some candidates, but Matthew demonstrates how many of those candidates aren’t great fits, if the challenges they’re presented seem insurmountable or unappealing.

Matthew tells us “I’ve taken jobs with companies where they tell me it’s 25% travel – I was in a position where I was on the road 95% of the time. You’re not going to retain anyone. The more open, the more transparent you are, the better you are in recruiting and retaining people – you’re also building that trust up front.” The honesty and transparency doesn’t just help you find the right candidate, it also helps you.

Next, Matthew discusses the importance of a great process – fair, warm, welcome, and efficient. Hiring processes that take too long will result in candidates finding other positions, potentially with competitors! When in doubt, get a second opinion. Matthew tells us “It’s never a bad thing to bring them back in and have another sit down and have another decision.”

Moreso, when faced with two great candidates, never burn bridges! Matthew points to a common issue employers run into: candidate A and B are both great candidates, but you choose candidate A. Candidate A rejects your offer, and unless you’ve maintained your relationship with candidate B, you may be back to square one in your recruiting efforts!

Matthew tells us “Even a generic thanks, but no thanks, but your resume was reviewed – those are things that any company can do very quickly, and there’s no real reason not to do those things.”

Finally, Matthew expresses the importance of asking difficult questions. His favorite tough question: “Tell me about a time you failed.”

He asks this to discover how employees come back from failure by learning and improving. He tells us, “Everyone has made mistakes – it’s a self-reflection question, but also an emotional intelligence question.”

Hiring the right candidate is a fundamental cornerstone of a successful business. Refining your process, being open, honest and transparent, and asking the right questions will go a long way in helping you find the right talent for your organization.

Thanks for listening to this month’s episode of The BizLibrary Podcast! Want to learn more about creating a great interview process? Check out our free webinar, “Because Great Interviewers Are Made, Not Born!”

Thanks for listening!