Your staff members are one of your greatest resources. Making sure each employee you hire will be a good fit and will help further the success of your business is important—and can be intimidating.
It’s easy to think someone is a “perfect fit” during an interview. But anyone can be on his/her best behavior for a brief meeting. How can you prepare yourself to read between the lines and ensure you’re hiring a winner?
Consider these tips:
Do your homework. This is a two-sided coin. Make sure you completely understand the job details and skills required. Then, do your homework about the individual. “The planning process prior to an interview is what sets apart those who are great at hiring,” says Matt Hoskins, founder and owner of PayProTec. “Here are a few tips to consider when conducting interviews:
- Define the ideal individual for the specific job opening.
- Make a detailed list of qualities this ideal candidate will have and give this list to the person you interview.
- Discuss the list in detail with the candidate and ask him/her to define his/her skill set/talent level as listed. Take notes.
- Go over the candidate’s references in detail. Ask the potential hire what grades his/her references would give. If any differs from your notes, ask why.
- Lastly, ask your potential hire to assign a priority number to each item on the list (#1 being most important) and work his/her way down. Discuss reasoning for each answer.
These steps will clearly identify who you feel is the best for the job.”
Dig a little deeper. During the interview, ask follow-up questions to really get past the surface/rehearsed answers. These may include, “How did you feel about that?” or “What happened next?” or “What do you wish would have happened?” or “How would you handle that situation differently?” or even “Could you elaborate on that more?” Be creative. Write them out ahead of time if you’re not sure you’ll be able to come up with them on the spot.
Look for the “I can’t help it” passion. This is how you’ll be able to weed out the “just need a job” applicants from the “I’m in it for the long haul and excited to work here” perfect fit. As Christine Fragoso, Director of Orphan Rescue Operations at Warm Blankets Orphan Care, Intl., says, “I look for a genuine passion for our mission. We serve orphans and widows overseas, but we do not do the hands-on work. We are the storytellers, the encouragers, the resource builders. If an interviewee gets excited, smiles, and becomes animated when talking about or listening to me talk about the job we are offering, that means a lot. It tells me they’re looking for a mission and a purpose, not just a job to pay the bills.”
Watch for personality and attitude. Personality will play a huge part in how well the individual melds with the staff. And attitude will have direct effect on how well the employee will respond to authority, fulfill responsibilities, and represent your company to customers. No matter what kind of experience/education the potential hire can bring to the company, if the attitude is poor, you won’t benefit.
Watch for the little things. Is he/she: Dressed appropriately? On time? Confident enough to look you in the eye? Responsive to your questions? Saying “thank you” and “please” when appropriate? This person could represent you, your business, and your product to the masses. Is this the behavior you’d want associated with your company?
Trust your gut. Hoskins says, “I believe every great leader has inherent instincts that give great insight during the hiring process. It is no accident that leaders have ascended to the positions they are in. What ‘brought you to the dance’ should continue to be trusted. I will always rest in what accomplishments the candidates are bringing with them from their prior career(s). Proven track records combined with passion and an understanding of what qualities the individual brings to the team atmosphere are paramount. Take your time. Enjoy the process.”
Give yourself a little grace. Even though you do all you can, you may still discover after hiring that the individual is just not a good fit. This is a good reason to offer a trial period. Once this is realized, it’s best to not drag it out and hope things change. This doesn’t benefit you or your company, and could cause some of your top employees to leave. Take appropriate corrective measures, but also be willing to do what’s best for your business and cut ties.
For more, read these articles in the Saltsha Academy:
“Hire the Best Employees”
“Hire For Potential, Not Experience”
“How Should Social Media Affect Your Hiring Process?”
“Determining Your Employee-to-Income Ratio”
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned when it comes to hiring a new employee?