Hiring Guide

Published on July 12, 2017

A Guide to Hiring SRP Employees

SRP has taken steps to create a hiring model that will save you a great deal of time, heartache, and money.  You may be tempted to shortcut this process, but it was actually designed to efficiently gather many details and ultimately save you time.  We attempted to make the process as self-explanatory and stepwise as possible, but please also keep the following generalities in mind when making hiring decisions:

  • It’s all data – Your potential hire is giving you information during every aspect of the interview process. Remember to consider their recreational interests, the way they interact with office staff, the quality of their correspondence, and all other points along the way when attempting to determine fit. Information gathering should start well before the formal interview!
  • Go where winners go – Search online discussion boards, niche publications, and local art schools to find the best and brightest candidates. Traditional job posting services like Monster and Career Builder are great for reaching a lot of people quickly, but may not provide a honed search.  You might want to start with a local photography facebook page.
  • Dig Deeper – Many of the “Sunday School” answers provided by potential hires are diversions aimed at keeping you from understanding genuine weaknesses or a poor fit. Remember, you are concerned about finding the perfect fit, but they are generally more concerned with landing some job, any job. Don’t be afraid to ask follow up questions.  Dig deeper, ask for greater concreteness, and never settle for safe answers — they may be an attempt to mask the truth.  This is particularly common when discussing weaknesses or areas of poor past performance.

Hiring SRP Rockstars

Step 1: Post the Job

Each position has a custom-designed job posting that encompasses both the technical and personal competencies necessary for success. You’ll also notice that the job postings feature a “Life at SRP” and “Meet a Team Member” section designed to give potential hires a window into SRP culture. Each job posting also requests that interested parties submit a cover letter detailing their expertise in areas crucial to success in the given role.

Step 2: Review Resumes and Cover Letters

Your first task is to eliminate all applicants who fail to submit a cover letter or who fail to follow directions in the submission of their cover letter (e.g., not speaking to all required topics). Applicants whose resumes and cover letters do not reflect the minimum requirements for success should also be excluded from consideration.  Now that you have those who have followed instructions and meet basic criteria for inclusion, continue to remove application materials that reflect poor attention to detail and/or weak written communication skills.

Step 3: Distribute Pre-Employment Questionnaire (See below)

At this point, you should have successfully narrowed down a large pool of potential applicants to those that meet basic criteria for success and have shown sufficient interest in the position. The next step is to provide the enclosed SRP Pre-Employment Questionnaire to the remaining applicants. SRP seeks to employ a workforce of developmentally-minded professionals who are never satisfied with “good enough.”  Further, we believe that honesty and a feedback-rich environment provide opportunities for all team members to share ideas and work toward mutual improvement. To this end, the third step in the hiring process seeks to eliminate those uncomfortable with sharing their developmental opportunities, and to retain those with a balanced understanding of their personal and professional strengths and weaknesses. The Pre-Employment Questionnaire also asks for a specific salary range, which allows hiring managers to ensure that the applicant is seeking a job within the defined compensation parameters of the role.

Remove from consideration all applicants that fail to return the questionnaire.  Upon reviewing the Pre-Employment Questionnaire, also remove all candidates that fail to give specific, thoughtful responses to the “Strengths and Weaknesses” questions. Candidates are explicitly instructed to answer these in an honest and thoughtful manner, and failure to do so suggests difficulty following directions, defensiveness, lack of self-awareness, and thus, a poor fit with our culture.

Finally, remove all applicants that fail to provide a salary range, or provide a range too far above what is customary and reasonable for the position in question.

Step 4: Face-to-Face Interviews

Applicants who remain after the first three steps are now scheduled for an interview.  There is an attached set of questions provided for your use in structuring the interview. However, it should also be said that interviewing is both art and science, and the process need not stick strictly to the script should other avenues of relevance present themselves.  It is best to view the process as “semi-structured” with the interview template providing the basics to be covered, but not necessarily serving as all that can be touched upon in an interview.

Application materials should be reviewed in detail prior to the interview, and rapport-building points of conversation should be determined before the interview begins.

Building Relationships of Trust comments, these may include taking an interest in where a candidate went to school, commenting on a shared enjoyment of a sport, asking questions about personal interests, and generally trying to lower defenses and build rapport. In addition to being a kind and socially appropriate way to begin any social interaction, this approach is reflective of SRP culture and promotes honest responses. Space is also provided to begin the interview following up on any lingering questions that remain from the first three steps in the process.

Interview questions are italicized and provide room below for both written notes and numerical scores for responses to each question.  Immediately following the interview, please take a moment to fill in any notes and answer any questions remaining.  Then use the final group of questions to help you consider the applicant’s skills as they relate to the demands of the job.

If you have looked for details in all interactions and pushed for deep answers, you should now have an excellent idea of whether or not the applicant in consideration is a good fit for the role. Remember, building a strong team is the number one component of running a successful franchise. Going through the necessary steps to select great talent can seem time-intensive, but it is not nearly as time-intensive as spending hours meeting with unqualified candidates. Enjoy the process, enjoy the people you will meet along the way, and true to SRP culture of development, continue to refine your skills at interviewing and selecting talent.

Step 5: Make An Offer

The last step in the hiring process is to select your new employee and make an offer.  A sample offer letter can be found below. The letter explains the terms of employment, salary, and other details pertaining to the position and initial expectations.  Some applicants may want to negotiate.  Know the parameters of the position and your needs.  If the items negotiated do not fit within SRP’s culture, select another applicant.

SRP Pre-Employment Questionnaire


Position sought:  

Congratulations at having made it to the second round of consideration for this exciting new opportunity! At SRP, we are committed to a culture of personal and professional growth. We are not looking for perfect employees, just employees that are aware of their own strengths and weakness, and actively striving to improve their lives and the lives of others. In answering the questions below, please keep this culture of honest self-awareness in mind. Answers that reflect limited awareness of developmental opportunities or responses that are too “safe” (e.g., My biggest weakness is that I care too much, work too hard, etc…) will alert us to a poor cultural fit. We look forward to your thoughtful responses and wish you continued success in your endeavors.


*When answering, please include at least one personal and one technical strength/weakness.


What are your three greatest strengths?*


What are three of your weaknesses or developmental opportunities?*


Please provide the name and phone number of a previous employer or supervisor to serve as a professional reference.


What are your salary expectations (please provide an actual range)?


Please describe your performance in a position similar to the one for which you are applying.


How soon can you be available to work?

SRP Interview Questions and Measurement Rubric

Below are some sample interview questions.  Use this as a guide to ask and note  and score answers  of the candidate.


 Build Trust:  Set the applicant at ease, thereby facilitating the most honest, unguarded exchange of information.  Be sure to use this time to read the candidate — people are always telling you something.


Topic 1.)


Topic 2.)


Data (what information emerged casually that may be salient to this individual’s success in this role?):






Questions from Resume/CV (to include technical skills, frequent job changes, gaps in employment, etc…)












QUESTIONS – In all cases, a rating of 5 represents superior fit and 1 represents a very poor fit.


Preferred Work Setting: “Describe the best boss you’ve ever had.”

Rating – a score of 5 should reflect a good fit with the “would be” supervisor and an overall positive attitude. (1 to 5):




Preferred Work Setting: The worst boss?”

Rating – a score of 5 should reflect a good fit with the “would be” supervisor, acceptance of personal responsibility, and absence of an overly critical attitude.

(1 to 5):




Preferred Work Setting: Describe your ideal job/work culture — hours, flexibility, autonomy, tasks, allotment of time, etc…

Rating – a score of 5 should reflect a willingness to work hard, a culture similar to SRP’s existing culture, and a commitment to teamwork. (1 to 5)




Results Orientation: “Name one specific, measurable accomplishment you have attempted.  Describe how you went about trying to achieve that goal.” 

Overall quality – a score of 5 should represent a history of specific, ambitious goal setting, a systematic approach to goal completion, and an ability to bounce back from setbacks without making excuses. (1 to 5):



Results Orientation: “Name one goal/metric of success that you were not able to attain? Explain your response and subsequent actions.”




Overall quality – a score of 5 should represent a history of specific, ambitious goal setting, a systematic approach to goal completion, and an ability to bounce back from setbacks without making excuses. (1 to 5):





Integrity: “Under what circumstances have you felt it justifiable to break a confidence or bend the rules?” Overall quality- a score of 5 should reflect mature decision making and some ability to bend organizational rules in service of heightened customer service or other positive outcomes. Self-serving behavior, excessive rigidity, and disregard for organizational norms should lead to lower scores. (1 to 5):






Resourcefulness: “What obstacles have you faced in your current/last role? What steps did you take to overcome them?”   Overall quality – a score of 5 should reflect resourcefulness, creativity, and resilience to stress in approach to overcoming obstacles. Scapegoating, avoidance of responsibility and resignation should result in lowered scores. (1 to 5):




Desire to be the Best: “You’re obviously very accomplished…(cite specific accomplishments). What is the motor that drives all of this or Why do you get up in the morning?”

Overall quality – a score of 5 should reflect a well-articulated gift or passion that has direct application to success in the role in question.( (1 to 5):






Questions: “What questions do you have for me?”

Overall quality – a score of 5 should reflect having listened during the interview and done research prior to arrival. Questions that reflect an attitude of selfishness or under-preparation should result in lower scores.(1 to 5):






CUSTOMER SERVICE:  “A client calls to cancel 1 hour before her scheduled shoot. There is a 48 hour cancellation policy in place. You must make a decision about whether or not to charge the client for the missed appointment. What questions would you need answered? What would be your final decision?”


Rating – a score of 5 should reflect mature reasoning and ability to back up decisions with business-minded data. While there is no right answer, the answer should reflect consideration of business outcomes and quality customer service.(1 to 5):



STRESS MANAGEMENT:  “What has been the most stressful time in your career? What caused the stress? When things get stressful, how does your approach to work change?”


Rating – a score of 5 should reflect honesty about stressors in the interviewee’s life as well as demonstrated mechanisms of stress-management. Consider significant stressors in terms of the role being applied for, subtracting points for stress caused by aspects of the role they would assume at SRP. (1 to 5):




PEOPLE SKILLS: With whom (what kind of person) are you most likely to disagree or experience conflict?


Rating – a score of 5 should reflect honest self-awareness of the type of people that “push their buttons.” Best responses should include some mention of how they get around the initial discomfort and learn to work well with the person in question and should also reflect acceptance of personal responsibility (1 to 5):


Post-Interview Evaluation


Written – examine all written correspondence and rate the quality of the applicant’s written communication skills. Attend to spelling, grammar, and cohesiveness of thoughts.  Rating (1 to 5):


Verbal – rate verbal communication skills including completeness of persuasive appeals, effective use of non-verbals, appropriate word usage, and rapport with interviewers.  Rating (1 to 5):



How well prepared was the interviewee? Look for note-taking materials, evidence of having researched SRP, and having prepared quality questions before hand.  Rating (1 to 5):


How “put together” was the applicant in terms of overall presentation, dress and grooming, and application materials? Rating (1 to 5):


To what extent do their interview answers suggest an organized approach to their work life?  Rating (1 to 5):



Rate overall “gravitas” or depth of executive presence. May include dress, demeanor, non-verbals, depth of insight, confidence, rapport, poise and intellect.

Rating (1 to 5):



Give your rating of the overall level of stress/composure you observed during the interview. Attend to non-verbals as well as level of composure. Rating (1 to 5):


Rate the “on paper” intelligence of the candidate including quality of schools attended, degrees attained, GPA, as well as other training/certificates.

Rating (1 to 5):


Rate the “in person” intelligence of the candidate including creativity of answers, depth of answers, and quickness of response. Rating (1 to 5)



How did they treat and interact with members of the team at all levels, including support staff? Rating (1 to 5):



Are they developmentally-minded?  Specifically, do they set goals and continuously strive to be better?  Are they non-defensive and open about their strengths and weaknesses?  Rating (1 to 5):


Would you like to work with them? Would you hire them for your business? Rating (1 to 5):


SCORE:   ___________   out of 120 (minimum suggested score:  90)



Sample Offer Letter



TO:  NAME                                        RE:  Position with Spoiled Rotten Photography

Dear NAME:

We are pleased to offer you employment at SRP of LOCATION. We feel that your skills and background will be valuable assets to our team – now and in the future.


Per our discussion, we would like to offer you the position of JOB TITLE. Your immediate supervisor will be SUPERVISOR NAME AND TITLE. Your requested start date will be START DATE.


Your compensation for this position will be $X per hour.


We hope you will find SRP to be an exciting and rewarding place to work.  Our team is devoted to being the best in the world at what we do. We feel that you will fit well in our environment and ultimately help us achieve that goal.


If you choose to accept this offer, please sign this letter in the space provided and return it to us. This offer letter is not a guarantee of employment, and a final employment decision is conditional upon execution of our non-disclosure and non-compete agreements and a background check.


We look forward to having you as the newest member of our growing SRP family!



YOUR NAME                                    Accepted by: ________________________

TITLE                                                              Date: