How to hire the right people
Advice for the most important business decision of all
To get the best results for your business, you need the best people
possible. But hiring the wrong person for the wrong job is one of the
most common – and disastrous – business mistakes today.
Here’s what you can do to avoid the most common hiring pitfalls.
1. Re-evaluate the nature and duties of the open position before you
hire. If the previous employee failed, was there an institutional
reason for their failure? What are the duties of the open position? Are
you asking too much of one person, or giving them too little resources
and authority? Are lines of reporting clear and efficient? Don’t set
your new employee up for failure.
2. Write a complete job description of the new position and give it
your HR department or hiring authority. Spell out everything in as much
detail as possible and get all concerned to agree to it.
3. Write down the skills and experience needed to perform the job
described. Do you really need an MBA who knows Photoshop? Conversely,
are you hiring someone too junior for the position? You can’t put the
right person in the right job until you align the skills needed with an
accurate job description.
4. Now that you know who want and why, begin your candidate search.
Don’t limit yourself to an ad in the newspaper. Consider outside
recruiters if the job level justifies the expense. Use job boards like
NEWonline’s own Job Bank – many are free. Finally, contact co-workers
and industry colleagues. Some of the best job referrals are personal.
5. Narrow your candidates to the ten or so best qualified (you can’t
interview everyone). Check resumes for work gaps and job-hopping. Look
for tangible achievements and consistent career progress. How well does
the resume communicate? While a clear-written resume doesn’t guarantee
a clear-thinking employee, a sloppy resume is troubling sign.
6. Compare the applicant’s resume and job application before the
interview. Note inconsistencies and ask about them. Write your
interview questions in advance. The best predictor of future
performance is past performance, so ask about previous accomplishments
and how they were achieved. Take notes and listen; too many
interviewers do all the talking. (You can find some great interview
questions on The Ashley Group’s website.
Finally, consider team interviews – many companies find they benefit
from having several people interview the candidate, together or
7. Keep your second round of interviewees small – and thank those who
came in the first time. Probe those areas you’re still vague about.
Again, most experts recommend behavior-based questions: “Tell us about
a time you overcame obstacles to get the job done.” Or “Give us three
examples when you improved your company’s sales.” Score points for the
occasional “I don’t know” or “I’m sorry, nothing comes to mind.” It’s a
better response than stretching the truth.
8. Picking the right candidate is one of the toughest decisions you’ll
ever make, so don’t do it lightly. Compare notes with colleagues. Call
the finalists in a third time if necessary. And make sure that you’re
not only happy with the applicant, but that the applicant will be happy
with the job.
9. Some employers and applicants part company during final
negotiations. This shouldn’t happen. Applicants should be apprised of
the job’s salary range and benefits during the first round of
interviews, if not sooner. Applicants who hold out for more money or
special considerations late in the game should not be hired. On the
other hand, if they are worth more, and say so early, you may want to
re-consider your offer.
10. Put your offer down in a formal offer letter and make sure the
prospective employee acknowledges its receipt. This will start you and
you new employee off on the right foot and save misunderstandings in
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