First of all, you must have a well-defined job description. If you don’t have it on paper then you have no framework to work from and nothing to serve as the base for your performance expectations. Once you have that nailed down, you should be sure you understand and can explain what your company culture is like. Do you have a very informal or more formal environment? What are some key words and values you, and your current staff, would use to define your company? If you already have a mission and/or vision statement, be sure that it accurately reflects your company culture. What may have worked in the beginning may not be current today.
Screen the applicants and don’t interview just anyone who applies. You can tell a lot about a person from reviewing their application and resume. If they include a cover letter you will want to see that they took the time to send one that is tailored to your company and the position. There’s nothing worse than a generic cover letter unless it’s a poorly written one. If there is no cover letter (which in most cases is OK), did they highlight their relevant experience? For someone who may have recently graduated or just started working its ok if they have jumped around a bit. If they have a lengthy work history showing just a few months with employers that is a red flag. Look for gaps in employment. Perhaps they went back to school or stayed home for a couple of years with their child; that’s fine, but they should explain any gaps.
Once you have selected some applicants to interview, don’t delay. Get them set up for the interview as soon as you can. During the interview work from a standard set of questions and be prepared take notes to record their responses. If you want to bring in another person from your company to assist with the interview, and collaborate with you on the decision, be sure it is someone whose opinion you really trust.
In addition to asking them questions pertinent to the skills required for the position you need to find out, as best you can in one meeting, who they are and what makes them tick. Ask questions about what they have enjoyed about past companies they have worked for and positions they have held. Find out what qualities they value in a boss. And definitely ask them to tell you about work situations they didn’t enjoy in the past. Ask them to tell you about a time they did something specific in a job. If they give you a generic response then that is a problem. Always ask open-ended, behavior based questions. If you have more than one candidate to choose from, bring them back for a second interview and include that trusted person you may not have brought into the interview the first time around.
Is there a magic solution to hiring the right person every time? Of course not, but with proper planning you can increase your chances. They may have all the right experience and training and they may have interviewed beautifully. But, if your gut tells you something isn’t right then I highly urge you to listen to it! That is an intangible signal you must heed. Anytime I haven’t listened to that I have been burned.
At Stuart Selbst Consulting we work with our Managed Service partners to help them hire the right people and put them in the right positions. If you are struggling with your staff or your hiring process, call us today at 480-389-5481.