Help me! I’m hiring!
One of the biggest challenges small businesses encounter is identifying good hires and avoiding bad ones. Large companies have the ability to absorb underperforming employees, but small companies feel the impact from top to bottom when just one person isn’t pulling his or her weight.
No matter how big or small your company is, finding quality hires isn’t easy – especially if you need to fill an unexpected void or are growing quickly and can’t fill openings fast enough. Raise your hand if this sounds familiar! Though there’s never enough time in the day to re-evaluate your hiring process, failure to find a better way means you risk consistently hiring candidates with the “wrong stuff.”
Preparation and Consistency Are Key
Too often, managers hire workers for personality — someone they like or think others will like — instead of drilling down to determine who is most qualified for the job. Personality is part of the mix, but it shouldn’t be the determining factor when hiring new employees.
It’s best to have structure around the screening process, too, especially if candidates interview with several managers before decisions are made. Having a clearly defined hiring protocol means you will deploy the same process from manager to manager and candidate to candidate.
Consider these strategies to help you identify A-1 hires and eliminates wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Identify your core values. When company values are in writing, that message is conveyed easily during the interview process. All managers will sing from the same song sheet, which sends a clear message to candidates what your company is about. Sharing your core values also expresses that you intend to cultivate a specific culture with everyone you hire.
Create job descriptions. There’s no room for misinterpretation when each position has a list of skills and qualities required for the job. A comprehensive job description is nice, but make it easy and start with a bullet-point list of “required qualifications” all managers can follow.
Develop interview scorecards. Make sure all managers evaluate the same criteria by using a standard scorecard like the one here.
For example, create a basic list of categories such as: job experience, job skills, education, training/certifications, time-management skills, managerial skills, people skills, problem-solving skills, job accomplishments, strengths/weaknesses, why they are interested in your company, and attitude. Then encourage hiring managers to develop two or three questions for each category on the list so they can customize the interview to fit their personalities.
Talk Less, Learn More
With a foundation of consistent interviewing in place, the next step is capturing useful information during the interview. The best approach is to engage in a conversation instead of reading a list of questions. Here are a few guiding principles to consider:
Ask open-ended questions. Make the candidate comfortable with small talk before leading with conversational, engaging questions. And avoid “yes or no” questions. Instead of “Did you enjoy your last job?” ask, “What did you enjoy most about your last job?”
Listen, listen, listen. To avoid talking too much, use your scorecard to guide you through the interview process. If you have an hour and there are 10 categories, you have about six minutes per category, so plan accordingly. The candidate’s personality, aptitude and experience will shine through if you talk less and listen more.
Encourage questions. While you’re interviewing the candidate, he or she is interviewing you, too, to see if the fit is ideal. Quality candidates ask what is expected of them and how their skills can benefit you, which is a clear indication they’re interested. Questions about hours, pay raises, benefits and time-off policies are indicators the candidate is more concerned about what’s in it for them.
Finally, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for red flags. For example, do any candidates complain a lot about former employers? Do they blame everyone else for their problems or failures? Do they seem bored during the interview or display closed off body language? Did they show up late and provide excuses vs. taking full responsibility?
The more you know what to look for, what to say and what not to say, the easier it will be to identify quality hires. Find more helpful hiring tips here.
Once your new employees are hired, be sure to log their information and track their time and attendance with TrackSmart! We’re here to help you manage your new hires.