Archive for the 'Hiring' Category

Can the Candidate Do the Job? Will the Candidate Do the Job?

When interviewing candidates for an open position your job is to find out not only whether they have the required skills and knowledge but also whether they are motivated to perform at a high level.

Questions about knowledge and skills are relatively straightforward.  You might ask (depending on what you are looking for) questions like these:

  • What has been your experience with developing databases? (Technical position)
  • In your last position, how much of your time did you spend directly working with customers? (Sales/customer service)
  • What types of social media do you currently use and for what purpose? (Marketing/Internet)

Questions about motivation require more thought and in some cases a follow-up:

  • Tell me about a time when you went “above and beyond” to get a job done.  What was exceptional about that?
  • Give me an example of when you identified a small problem that needed to be fixed.  Why would it have become a major issue if not addressed?
  • How do you approach working with someone (customer/colleague) who is difficult to work with?

The first motivational question addresses the issue explicitly.  But the others address more subtle aspects of good performance:  courage to speak up, thinking outside the box, and overcoming obstacles.  The outstanding employee will incorporate these qualities into their work, to the benefit of the company.

So if you want to hire great employees, make sure you find out not only if they can but if they will do the job.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440.

Beware the “Halo Effect” in Candidate Interviewing

Have you ever interviewed a candidate for a position, offered them the job, and then been very disappointed in their performance?  If so you may have fallen victim to the Halo Effect.

Consider the following scenario: Jane Green is interviewing for an Accountant position reporting to your CFO.  As Jane and the CFO converse, they discover that they graduated one year apart from the same high school, have kids in the same soccer league, and enjoy golf.  The CFO reports that he is very impressed with her credentials and intends to make an offer.

But wait a minute, which credentials are we talking about here?  There is no mention of her experience in analyzing financial statements, creating reports, or account reconciliation which is what the position requires.  There is certainly an element of compatibility when hiring, but only as a secondary criterion.  The CFO focused on their common interests and missed the opportunity to assess whether Jane is qualified and able to meet the requirements of the position.  He may be in for a rude awakening after she has been on the job for a few months.

In any hiring interview, the most critical questions are “Can the candidate do the job?” and “Will the candidate do the job?”  More about how to get answers to these questions in a future article.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440

New Hire Success is not an Accident

Picture the following scenario:

It’s your first day at a new job, and you are very excited to be working at Company X which you identified as a “dream” job.  You make sure you leave early to get to work on time.  You park your car and walk in the door.  You ask the receptionist at the front desk to let your manager know you have arrived.  She looks puzzled and says “But Ms. Green is out on vacation this week – she didn’t tell me she was expecting you.”

She then attempts to locate someone to help you.  No one else from that area has arrived so finally she calls the HR manager.  He arrives, apologizes for the confusion, and takes you up to where your office should be.  It’s an empty space…just a desk and chair, no telephone or computer.

If you were this person, would you still think you had just started your “dream” job?  At the very least, a sliver of doubt would probably creep in.  By the time Ms. Green returns, a whole week will have gone by with no direction, support, or information.

After a candidate has accepted the offer, it is the manager’s job to create the infrastructure to get them off to a great start.  This should include:

  • A designated person (if not you) to greet them on their first day and get them settled.
  • A workspace equipped with all of the tools they need to begin working.
  • And most importantly, a plan to ensure that they know what is expected of them and what resources are available to help them achieve the plan.

As the saying goes, “failure to plan is planning to fail.”  Set your new hire up for success by planning for their arrival and integration into your business.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity. Sharon helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440

Manage the Hiring Process for Win-Win Outcomes

It may seem strange to think of the hiring process as a win-win.  After all, one candidate gets the job (the “winner”) and everyone else doesn’t (the “losers”).  However, if you manage the process well, you can get both a present and future return.  The current return is a great hire.  The future return is the ability to identify additional candidates that might be a good fit for similar positions, or even new ventures that play to their strengths.

But if you don’t manage the hiring process well, you risk losing both present and future return.  I recently chatted with someone who was a finalist for a position as a COO in a medium-sized company.  The company brought him in for the final interview and promised that he would hear back within 24 hours whether or not he had been chosen.  They also asked him to submit his travel expenses to be reimbursed within a week.  Well…six weeks later, after repeated phone calls and e-mails, he has heard nothing and has not been reimbursed for his expenses.

This company has lost in several ways:  if they were to decide at a later date to make an offer, he would most likely turn them down.  Additionally, he is telling his story to others who might have considered the company but now will hesitate to do so.  Bottom line:  treat all applicants with courtesy and follow through on your promises.  If you do, even the person who does not get the job may be more inclined to consider you in the future and recommend you to others.

Sharon Hamersley is Principal of Keys to Performance, Your Resource for Workplace Productivity.  For more information, visit her web site http://k2performance.net or call her at 614-395-9440.