How to Find the Right Employee to Best Fill the Position
The Hiring Process - Discover the Secret to Finding the Right Employee
Hiring good, hard working employees is a big challenge for employers. It doesn't make any difference what position you are recruiting for, it is a difficult task to determine a persons qualifications simply by asking a few questions during the interview(s). From the small business mom and pop operations to the large corporation, there are basic recruiting procedures that can be used to help you identify the right person for the right job.
The hiring process can be approached from many different angles depending on the skill level, job responsibilities, and educational requirements necessary to fill the job opening. In this article I will address a couple of key elements that can be used to find good quality people regardless of the skills required.
The secret to finding a good employee is in discovering their inner character, what drives them, what makes them tick. Once you know a little bit about who they are, you can then move on to determine if they have the work experience and or skills necessary to perform the job.
Identify the "must have" skills
Now I realize it is much easier to determine the job description of someone whose only responsibility is to sweep the floor, than it is to describe the responsibilities of a middle manager in charge of five department supervisors and 100 other employees. However, if you identify the must have skills first, you will significantly increase your chances of hiring the right employee from the beginning no matter what level of responsibility they will have.
It is a lot easier to find the right employee, if you know who you are looking for.
Finding the "perfect" employee who meets every single detail you are looking for, is rare, if not nearly impossible. Therefore, one of the first things you will need to do is make sure you have clearly identified the minimum, or the "must haves", of the qualifications and or the experience levels for the position you are trying to fill. The best way to do this is to create a list of the qualifications you would like your candidate to possess in order to be considered for the job. Then you will want to sort those qualifications based upon the skills the candidate must have, and the skills that would be beneficial but aren't really necessary to perform the job effectively. For example, a lathe operator must have the skills necessary to operate a lathe. It would be beneficial if the lathe operator had the skills to operate a forklift, but if you only need a lathe operator, then fork lift driving is something you could do without. It is a lot easier to find the right employee, if you know who you are looking for. In other words, clearly define the job description and it will be much easier to find someone who can do it.
A common mistake employers make in the recruiting process is in hiring the person who meets their qualifications without making sure whether the job meets the expectations of the new employee. I like the cliché that says: "If you find something you enjoy, you'll never work a day in your life." Ideally, this is the type of employee we all want. One who enjoys what they do, so they will always look forward to coming to "work". Hiring someone without giving them a clear picture of what the job entails, so that they can make an educated decision about what they will be doing, is a recipe for early turnover.
Select a location that will be free from distractions for both you and the applicant. Silence your phone, and notify other employees that you are not to be disturbed unless it's an emergency.
Once the initial introductions are over, the dynamics of the interview can change very quickly. It is important that the person conducting the interview maintains control. Your time is valuable so don't let an overanxious candidate start the interview by zealously displaying their qualifications with boisterous conversation. Or conversely, sometimes it's like trying to squeeze water from a stone to get some people to answer your questions. You as the interviewer need to direct the conversation at all times. Don't be afraid to interrupt if necessary, and or to wait patiently for the person to answer, so you can guide the conversation to get what you need.
Beware of the Perfect employee
The reality of the hiring process is that many times the employer and the employee come to the interview wearing their best poker face. The employer wants to find the perfect candidate and the potential employee wants to be the perfect candidate. So, from the beginning at least, we have common ground that both parties are working towards. The more desperate a person is to get the job, the more likely they will be to give you the answers you want to hear , and not necessarily describe their qualifications and or experiences.
Your purpose during the first interview is to collect information about each candidate to so you to make an intelligent choice. There are volumes of information about conducting interviews. Everything from controlling the environment, to skill analysis tests and body language. For now, lets just focus on some questioning techniques to aid you in getting information you can use to make a wise decision.
It is recommended that you open each interview with a few casual comments and questions to set your applicant at ease. Positive comments about the weather and a few questions about the traffic or if they had any problems finding the interview location usually work pretty good. Keep your casual conversation brief, as you don't want to get your applicant to open up too much with non-essential rambling.
Once you have your applicant set at ease, you want to move on to information gathering questions. How you ask the questions is extremely important. They need to be "open ended" questions that require the applicant to give you more than a "yes" or "no" answer.
For example, let's say you are interviewing an applicant for a waitress position you have available in the restaurant you work at. You can see from the application of your potential new hire that she has worked previously as a waitress. Some poorly structured questions would be: "Did you have to keep your work station clean?"; or: "Did you have to greet people at the door and seat them or did you have a hostess to do that?"
The first question can be answered with a simple yes or no answer and does not tell you whether the applicant did in fact keep her station clean even though it was one of her job responsibilities. The second question again can be answered simply with just a few words: ie..."We had a hostess seat people." Neither one of these questions gives you much insight into your applicants work habits and or character.
Unfortunately, unlike machines, human beings don't come equipped with a specification chart listing there horsepower, productivity, and energy consumption. This information needs to be gleaned from the applicants resume, their application, and during the interview(s).
"Open Ended" questions, the key to the right information
As the interviewer you need to get the applicant talking about what they did, how they did it, and why they did it that way. You do that by asking "open ended" questions that require the applicant to describe their experiences. I.E...."Describe for me what your primary job responsibilities were in your last position as a waitress?" "Give me an example of how you felt you exceeded those responsibilities?", "Keeping the waitress station clean at all times is important to us at our restaurant. Tell me how what you think cleanliness is and how you would keep it that way during a busy lunch hour.", "How long do you think is a long time for a customer to wait at the door before being seated, and what steps would you take to make sure they are taken care of within that time frame?", "Describe to me your most difficult customer, and what you did to handle the situation?"
Each of these questions will require your applicant to share personal experiences or their perspective, and what they did or would do if confronted with them. This is very valuable information in evaluating their work habits and performance standards.
There is no absolutely foolproof hiring procedure that you can follow to guarantee you will make the right choice with every new employee you hire. The idea is to prepare your questions to encourage the applicant to share their work experiences and describe how their performance meets or exceeds their job responsibilities. Once you know this information, you are much better equipped to evaluate their true work behaviour. Which in turn will enable you to select the best candidate for the job.