Posts Tagged 'hiring'

The Job Description: How to Ensure You Hire the Right Person

When I read job ads in the paper or online I often see the following phrases:
• Need energetic go-getter! (Sales)
• Partner with the Best! (Accounting)
• Unlimited Opportunity! (Retail)

Or the following:
• (Company Name) is a Management Consulting firm, specializing in distribution design and implementation with the purpose of solving our client’s business problems… (IT Company.)

If you were applying for a job with any of the above companies, would you have an accurate idea of what is required?  Probably not.  So, as an employer,  in 25 words or less, how do you convey what you are looking for and how you will know you have found it?  Here are some suggestions:
• Define your terms in relation to the position.  What does “energetic go-getter” mean?  Someone who will browbeat customers until they buy?  Probably not…more likely you are looking for a salesperson who can build customer relationships and generate repeat sales.  Asking for specific skill sets and experience may prevent applications from every “Go-Getter” in town who thinks they want to go into sales.
• Distinguish between needs and wants for the position.  If your best producers all have at least 5 years experience in the position, then that is most likely a need.  A want might be a college degree.
• Finally, and most importantly, be clear about the impact you expect the employee’s work will have for the company.  Hiring someone to work without understanding what the expected outcomes are doesn’t  benefit the company or the employee.

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.

Three Critical Interview Questions to Identify the Best Candidate

Do you ask any of the following questions in an interview:

• Tell me about yourself.
• What is your greatest strength/weakness?
• Why do you want to work here?

If so, you will almost always get the answer the candidate thinks you want to hear, rather than information that will help you make a decision about whether he or she is a good fit for the position. So what can you do to ensure you get good information? In her book A Manager’s Guide to Hiring the Best Person for Every Job Deanne Rosenberg discusses three question types that will help you get a clear picture of what the candidate really is capable of:

• What if … ? (the candidate is asked to respond to a problem that exists in your organization.)
• What has been your experience with … ? (the candidate is asked to describe specific situations in past work situations.)
• What has been the most challenging situation you faced related to … ? (the candidate is asked to describe the issue and how they resolved it.)

All of these questions force the candidate to answer based on knowledge and experience, not what they think you want to hear. But, to ask these types of questions, you need to know exactly what the position requires in terms of objectives and outcomes, not just skills and tasks. More about that in a future column.

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.

Putting Your Best (Company) Foot Forward in the Interview

Many companies use a phone screen interview as a method of determining which candidates to bring in for an in-person interview.  While you are evaluating  the candidates, you need to be aware that they are also evaluating you.  Here are reports from two job candidates about phone interviews they had:

  • I was told to call at 9:28 so I did.  I was put on hold for several minutes.  When the manager came on the line he told me that I could not ask any questions, and that he would hang up after exactly 10 minutes.  He then proceeded to read the job description and told me I had whatever time was left to state why I was the best candidate for the job.”
  • “The HR representative read me the job description and asked if I had any questions about the job.  When I said I was interested in learning more about a particular requirement, she said she didn’t have time to discuss that, thanked me for my time, and hung up.”

Not only were these candidates unimpressed with the company, they are telling their friends about their experience. When you conduct a phone or an in-person  interview, be prepared and professional so that you can present your company in the best possible light.  Your reputation and ability to hire great people is on the line.
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.

The Right Employee for the Right Job

Have you ever had the experience of hiring someone who looked perfect for the job, only to have them leave soon after they started?  Or, even worse, you had to fire them?  Employee turnover costs businesses thousands of dollars in lost time and productivity.  So, how can you ensure that your next hire “sticks”?  Here are a few tips:

  • Prepare a job description that goes beyond duties and responsibilities to describe the impact the employee has on the business.  Outstanding employees don’t just “do” they help achieve results.
  • Ask the right questions in the interview.  Not just about what they have done, but how they have solved problems and contributed in the past.
  • Make sure that when the new employee starts, they have the information and resources needed to do the job they were hired for.  Nothing is more frustrating for a new hire than to sit around feeling unproductive.

Bottom line: the more intentional you are in the hiring process, the more likely you will have a happy, productive, long-term employee who will help you achieve business success.  Of course there are many more strategies that can contribute to employee success such as on-the-job training and having a clear path to advance in the company.   But it all starts with getting the right person for the right job.

Sharon Hamersley, Principal, Keys to Performance, helps businesses hire, train and retain outstanding employees and create workplaces where everyone can do their best work.  For more information, contact her at 614-395-9440 or Sharon.ktp@wowway.com.