Your interview questions should be behavioural ie. 'Tell us about a time when....'. I have commonly been told by clients that they would hate to have to answer some of the questions on my list. They are really thought provoking and provide insight into the person's personality, values and style of working. You don't need to apologise for this. After all it is in the best interest of both parties that there is a good fit between employer and employee.
Usually at interview you will get the intuitive feeling that they are right for the job or not. Don't try and convince yourself that the person is right - if you are doing this, then they are definitely not right. Someone better will come along. The time you need to invest in training to get them up to speed is enormous, try not to make a square peg fit a round hole out of desperation to stop working those insane hours. Don’t ask the forbidden questions about pregnancy, children, marital status, disabilities etc as you might be taken for discrimination. Try to ask the same set of questions of all applicants and keep them on record so you can prove that you didn't discriminate in case this does happen.
Do check references and ask the referee three key questions 1) would they reemploy the person? 2) Everyone has weaknesses, what would they say it was for this person? 3) What was their relationship to the employee? (in case they are related or they were a colleague and not a manager). Not that this matters but it might provide some more information for you or help you better understand their responses. One or two referees should be sufficient.
Is HR outsourcing for recruitment a viable solution for small business?
You will need to invest to get recruitment right and will need to invest a significant amount of time to get it right even with a HR department. Outsourcing your recruitment can make a lot of financial sense. The above steps take time and they are improved each time you undertake the task. Recruitment people do this every day and become very proficient at it.
You would need to do a lot of employing to really hone your skills. From an HR perspective, we are always looking for employees that will deliver the best result for our clients. We often manage their complete HR department and if the new employee is going to create performance issues, it will come back to bite us. We have a vested interest on many levels on getting it right.
The time it takes to get the right person is an investment in your company's future. If people are your business then you need to make sure that every new recruit is going to add value to your organisation, deliver on objectives and keep your internal and external clients satisfied.