Hiring The Right Person

Get It Right By Hiring Up With Every New Job Opening

Hiring the right person each time you have an open position must be your number one objective.

How do you go about identifying the right people for the job, who will also be a great fit for your business culture?

There is no perfect answer, but the interview process can be a tremendous help if you use it effectively.

Interviewing candidates for hiring the right person for a position within your company is one of the final steps in the hiring process. Before you get to this step, you want to make sure that you've completed all of the preceding steps since each step will have a direct impact on how effective the interview process will be.

To achieve the best hiring results possible, remember that all of the steps are important for hiring the right person. Below is a list of steps in the hiring process, which will aid you in your efforts toward hiring the right person.

Listed in order, the key steps to hiring the right person to fill a position in your company include:

  1. Determining your need to hire a new employee. - Are you properly utilizing the skills and talents of your current employees? Can your business growth support a new employee?
  2. Conducting a thorough job analysis. - What are the job's essential functions and key performance criteria? Do you know what specific skills and talents you are in need of?
  3. Writing a job description. - Detailing the specifics of the position based on a complete job analysis.
  4. Determining the salary for the position. - Adequate pay incentive is key to hiring the right person. Based on internal and external comparisons, is the salary competitive with the salaries and responsibilities of other positions inside your company as well as similar positions out in the marketplace?
  5. Deciding where and how to find qualified applicants. - What are the recruitment techniques to be used for attracting and hiring the right person? What is the time frame for conducting your search? Remember that advertising is not the only way to recruit.
  6. Collecting and reviewing a fair amount of applications and resumes. - Once you have a diverse pool of candidates to choose from, you begin selecting the most qualified people for further consideration. You are now one step closer to hiring the right person for this key position!
  7. Interviewing. - Select the most qualified candidate for the position, based on the person's proven skills and experience that has prepared him/her to meet the requirements listed in the job description.
  8. Checking references. - ALWAYS take the time to check a candidates references before making a job offer. You never know what kind of information you can get that will be of use in your selection process.
  9. Hire the right person for the job. - After going through all of the above steps, you should have a very clear idea of which candidate is right for the job. Once you've done your homework, go with your gut and make the hiring decision.

Conducting A Successful Interview - What To Do!

Hiring The Right Person Tip #1 - Prepare In Advance For Interviews

Now that you know where the interview process fits into the hiring process, let's take a look at the "Do's" and "Don'ts" of conducting a successful interview - which will lead to hiring the right person!

Always prepare in advance for the interview as part of hiring the right person. Follow these steps when interviewing:

  • Know what you want in a candidate before you begin the interview. Review the job requirements that have been prepared.
  • Know the job responsibilities and what will be required of the employee to succeed.
  • Prepare a list of standard questions concerning the candidate's skills, abilities and past work performance that you want him/her to answer.
  • Prepare a list of prioritized and measurable criteria, either in the form of a worksheet or other method, for analyzing and comparing the candidates.
  • Review the candidate's resume prior to the interview.
  • Set specific appointment times and reasonable time limits.
  • Be prepared to justify the use of any required employment test. Typically, the most legally defensible tests are those that involve a "piece of the job."

Hiring The Right Person Tip #2 - Collect Key Information During Interview

  • Seek to identify clues of behavior.Since past behavior predicts future behavior, look for the candidate's behavior patterns as you collect information. For example, has the candidate enjoyed "big picture" work or detailed analysis more? Is he/she more of a generalist or more of a specialist?

    Often by listening to how the candidate responds to your questions about previous jobs, you will be able to get a very good idea of what their behavior will be like in the future, should you decide to hire this candidate.

  • Try not to offer too much detailed information up front, which only allows the candidate to be able to formulate answers that exactly fits your company's needs. Don't put the right words in his/her mouth! Remember that the candidate (hopefully) wants the job and will be looking to say the right thing to impress you.
  • When looking to hire the right person, ask questions that focus on the candidate's past performances. For example, if the job (such as an office manager) demands an individual who is well-organized and handles paperwork easily, you may want to ask, "How do you keep track of your own schedule and desk work in your current position?"
  • Ask specific, structured questions in regards to specific problems that the job holder may face. Focus on past behavior and the results of the candidate's actions in a particular situation. For example: "As the customer service representative, you may encounter a few unhappy campers who will yell and scream at you over the telephone or in person. Have you had any experience dealing with difficult customers? Tell me about the most difficult customer you had to deal with? What was the situation? How did you resolve the problem?"
  • When looking to hire the right person, notice how well the candidate listens and responds to the specific questions asked.
  • Note the candidate's choice of words and non-verbal behavior. Are they answering your questions clearly?
  • Listen to the questions the candidate asks. Be sure to understand the reasons why the questions are being asked. Notice which questions he/she asks first as they may be his/her primary concerns.
  • Take detailed hand-written notes concerning job related topics that will help you distinguish the candidates from one another (especially if you will be conducting several interviews). Help yourself remember each candidate and each interview clearly.
  • Record information pertaining to the set criteria that will help in the evaluation of candidates.
  • Organize and analyze the information immediately after the interview when memory is fresh. Don't try to remember everything, it's impossible. One idea is to "rate" each candidate on each of the criteria immediately following the interview. This can be very helpful when making a final decision on hiring the right person.

Hiring The Right Person Tip #3 - Look and Act Professionally During Interview

  • Dress appropriately
  • Avoid appearing bored and fatigued
  • Set a professional atmosphere
  • Structure the interview and inform the candidate of the structure. Let the candidate know you will be focusing on past results and that you will be taking a lot of notes
  • Provide information on the company and the job to each candidate

Hiring The Right Person Tip #4 - Treat All Candidates Fairly

  • Use your list of standard questions during each interview so that you treat each applicant the same and so that you can compare apples to apples.
  • Refer to the criteria for analyzing candidates. Ask questions in regards to the job criteria.
  • Keep all questions job-related.
  • Do not ask discriminating questions.
  • Show a genuine interest in every candidate you interview.
  • If possible, have at least one other person meet and/or interview candidates who are "finalists." They should also rate the candidates on each of the criteria; ultimately, all interviewers should compare their ratings and discuss any discrepancies. Having more than one interviewer helps eliminate any personal bias.

Hiring The Right Person Tip #5 - Be Courteous and Respectful

  • Conduct the interview in a private place away from distractions.
  • Begin the interview on schedule.
  • If possible, conduct the interview without interruptions.
  • Allow sufficient time for the interview.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate the candidate's accomplishments.
  • Do not patronize the candidate.
  • Never argue with the candidate.
  • Thank the candidate for his/her time and interest.

Hiring The Right Person Tip #6 - Facilitate Open Communication

  • Immediately attempt to establish a rapport with the candidate by breaking the ice; for example, ask about their experiences in a particular industry or geographical location (refer to his/her resume).
  • Promote a relaxed environment with free-flowing conversation when looking to hire a new employee.
  • Do not dominate the discussion by talking too much. Many experts use a 80/20 rule - you talk 20% of the time and the candidate talks 80% of the time.
  • Politely probe the candidate for information by asking open-ended questions that will provide insight into the candidate's values and traits.
  • Ask structured questions that will require some thought on the part of the candidate.
  • Listen carefully to the candidate's answers. If they do not provide you with specific results, probe until they do.
  • Explain the selection process to the candidate. Offer realistic time frames and stick to your word!

The Successful Interview - What NOT To Do!

The following list is comprised of subject matter that is widely regarded by employement experts as "off-limits" for discussion in an interview.

Most of these subjects relate directly to federal and state employment laws. Legislation covering equal employment opportunity is extensive and complex.

Check not only Federal laws, but also your own State laws and guidelines. Remember, State laws can vary! Consult an attorney for legal advice (before you begin the search process for hiring the right person) if you feel you need assistance.

In an interview, or on an employment application, DO NOT ask questions about:

  • The age of the candidate. Be careful using the words "over qualified" with older candidates.
  • An arrest record (this is different from convictions - in most states, it is permissible to ask if the candidate has ever been convicted of a crime).
  • Race or ethnicity.
  • The candidate's citizenship of the U.S. prior to hiring (It is permissible to ask "Will you be able to provide proof of eligibility to work in the U.S. if hired?")
  • The candidate's ancestry, birthplace or native language (it is permissible to ask about their ability to speak English or a foreign language if required for the job).
  • Religion or religious customs or holidays.
  • The candidate's height and weight if it does not affect their ability to perform the job.
  • The names and addresses of relatives (only those relatives employed by the organization are permitted).
  • Whether or not the candidate owns or rents his/her home and who lives with them. (asking for their address for future contact is acceptable).
  • The candidate's credit history or financial situation. In some cases, credit history may be considered job-related, but proceed with extreme caution.
  • Education or training that is not required to perform the job.
  • Sex or gender. Avoid any language or behavior that may be found inappropriate by the candidate. It's his/her standard of conduct that must be met.
  • Pregnancy or medical history. Attendance records at a previous employer may be discussed in most situations as long as you don't refer to illness or disability.
  • The candidate's family or marital status or child-care arrangements (it is permissible to if the candidate will be able to work the required hours for the job).
  • The candidate's membership in a non-professional organization or club that is not related to the job.
  • Physical or mental disabilities (asking whether the candidate can perform the essential job duties is permitted.) The ADA allows you to ask the applicant to describe or demonstrate how they would perform an essential function (s) when certain specific conditions are met . Check the law or consult with an attorney before moving forward.

Remember, when in doubt, ask yourself if the question is job-related; if not, don't ask!

Follow the above guidelines closely and you will be well on your way toward hiring the right person for the job.

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