10 Tips for Successful Hiring

We are all faced with the challenges of finding the right associates for the right job.

Behavioral interviews open windows on candidates’ personalities and skills by focusing on their workplace experiences and actions.

Add these questions to your behavioral interviews

Behavioral interviews open windows on candidates’ personalities and skills by focusing on their workplace experiences and actions. Miami employment attorney Lisa Berg and Zero Defect Hiring author Walter Dinteman offer four probing queries to kick off the process:

  • We have all lost a few big deals. Can you tell me about one in which you gave your best but did not succeed? What did you learn from that experience? Look for an answer that shows resilience and the ability to build successes out of earlier failures.
  • Can you describe the most difficult person you ever managed and how you coped? The answer will help illuminate the candidate’s leadership abilities and management style.
  • Tell me about the longest day you worked in the past month. When did you start and finish? What did you accomplish? How did you feel the next day? The answer to this will tell you a lot about the candidate’s work ethic.
  • Describe the worst supervisor you’ve ever had. Be careful if they slander a former employer or reveal more than they should. Look for a response that indicates whether or not your management style is compatible with the applicant.

Source: Adapted from “Hire education,” by Joan Fleischer Tamen, in the Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) as seen in Employee Recruitment & Retention, March 2004.

Five ways to start hiring more stars today

Hiring stars involves more than just weeding out weak applicants. Consider these steps to attract the best and brightest to your workplace:

  • Create success profiles. Forget traditional job descriptions. Outline what candidates must do to succeed in the position.
  • Drop minimum requirement listings. Outline the position’s opportunities instead. Creative, smart, hard-charging folks will respond to ads that emphasize challenges and opportunities.
  • Fast-track top candidates. If you get nibbles from big fish, land them with immediate responses and a streamlined hiring process.
  • Make recruiters cater to stars. Paradoxically, the best candidates want quick action from employers even while they take more time than average to accept job offers. Make sure recruiters give them all the information they need to say yes.
  • Jump-start internal referral programs. Don’t wait for employees to tell you about potential hires they know – ask them for a short list now. Aim to make up to 60 percent of your hires based on internal referrals.

Source: Adapted from “A different perspective on how to hire top people,” by Lou Adler, on the Workforce Management Web site, as seen in Employee Recruitment & Retention, March 2004.

Hiring: What to ask references

Because of the possibility of a defamation lawsuit, most employers are reluctant to provide negative information about a job applicant. How can you get a true picture of the job seeker? Try asking past employers to describe the candidate’s strengths. If the list is short or vague, you’ll have learned a lot without any risk of litigation.

Source: As seen in The Manager’s INTELLIGENCE Report.

Four strategies guaranteed to recruit and retain ‘golden workers’

The so-called “Golden Agers” – older employees with years of experience – are a valuable asset at any organization. But to recruit these workers – and keep them on board – requires some special strategies. Here are four examples that have worked at other companies:

  • Don’t steal their Social Security. Some workers under age 67 could have their Social Security benefits reduced if they earn too much money. Educate yourself about these issues, and help your Golden Agers play by the rules so they don’t get penalized.
  • Cater to their families. Many Golden Agers have spent their careers working 40- and 50- hour weeks. They would like to continue working, but only on a part-time basis so they can spend time with their families. Offering flexible schedules and part-time positions is a great way to get experienced workers into your company.
  • Don’t “shout” at them. You’d be surprised by how many otherwise intelligent managers actually speak much LOUDER when they talk to older workers. These same managers also assume that Golden Agers don’t know anything about technology. Throw all your stereotypes about older workers out the window and treat them the same way you treat all your employees: with respect.
  • Teach these old dogs new tricks. Many managers believe that older workers don’t want to expand their skills. But Golden Agers are like everybody else: They enjoy challenges and want to learn new things. Give them the same training opportunities that younger workers get.

Source: Adapted from the Hewlett-Packard Small Business Tips Web site, as seen in Employee Recruitment & Retention.

Can you effectively answer job candidates’ questions?

Star candidates invariably place potential employers through a rigorous selection process. If you hope to hire the stellar prospects, you should be prepared to candidly address the following likely questions:

  • What’s your most important product or service? In what way would I be responsible for it?
  • How important is the division I’d be working for in terms of overall profitability? Is that importance growing or shrinking?
  • What are the best and worst facets of the organization’s culture? How are you working to improve it? Do you have industry awards or other outside indications that this is a desirable place to work?
  • What commitment have you made to help diverse members of the workforce feel comfortable here?
  • Do you offer any best-in-class perks or benefits? How do you reward peak performers?
  • When top employees depart, why do they usually leave?
  • What ongoing professional development plan would you envision for me?
  • Have you recently gone through layoffs? Do you plan to do so in the near future? If so, how do you select your layoff targets and how do you treat them?
  • How many hoops would I have to jump through to get a $100,000 project idea approved? How often do you green-light employee-generated projects?
  • If I watched the entrance at the end of a workday, would I be most likely to see smiles or frowns on employees’ faces? Would they be taking projects home? Leaving early, or staying l ate?
  • What’s the most compelling reason I should work here instead of at your main competitors?

Source: Adapted from “Recruiters: are you ready for these bone-chilling questions?” by John Kador, on the Electronic Recruiting Exchange Web site, as see in Employee Recruitment & Retention, January 2004.

Get in the game to attract young workers to your organization

Service-industry employers looking for a hiring advantage among young adult workers should be keeping an eye on the U.S. Army’s amazingly successful video-game recruiting initiative. About a year ago, the military branch added an online game called America’s Army to its Web site. The free game links together players online as they complete basic training, take on rescue missions, and explore various Army careers. So far, more than 2 million people have registered to participate, and a second version of the game, America’s Army: Special Forces, was added in November.

The virtual recruiting effort, which costs $4.5 million annually, is paying off in the real world. One in four members of this year’s freshman class at West Point reported playing the game online.

Obviously, few industries can provide teen Web surfers with the thrill of a war game. But service-sector firms ranging from theater and video chains to retailers and restaurants might get a hiring bump out of adding fun strategy games to their recruitment sites. Engaging young workers on their own terms should be a winning proposition.

Source: Adapted from “Army targets recruits with new game,” by Eric Gwinn, in the Chicago Tribune, as seen in Employee Recruitment & Retention, January 2004.

Avoid these five common hiring mistakes

Entrepreneurs without formal recruitment training often make five basic hiring errors. According to Eastern Michigan University management professor Richard Camp, they:

  • Don’t determine the skills needed for job success before bringing in candidates.
  • Pose questions irrelevant to the position.
  • Don’t decide in advance what will constitute correct answers to their questions.
  • Attempt to psychoanalyze the personalities of applicants.
  • Base hiring decisions on their general impressions of candidates.

The key is knowing what you want to see and how you can measure it,” Camp says. “If you don’t know the correct answer to the question, don’t ask it.

Source: Adapted from “Businesses hone hiring techniques,” by Eric Pope, in the Detroit News, as seen in Employee Recruitment & Retention, September 2003.

Queries designed to send shady applicants packing

How can you reduce your chances of hiring criminal employees? Combine pointed statements with questions that encourage questionable applicants to remove themselves from the application process. Try these queries from attorney Les Rosen, president of California-based Employment screening Resources:

  • We do background checks on all finalists. Do you have any concerns about that?
  • We do a criminal check on all finalists. Do you have any concerns about that?
  • Can you explain what you were doing during these gaps in your resume?

Follow up on background check promises and look for even small discrepancies that suggest applicant dishonesty. “Most employers won’t tell you about illegal conduct, but it’s still worth checking with them to confirm the candidate’s start date, end date, and title,” Rosen says.

Source: Adapted from “The five-finger bonus,” by Robert J. Grossman, in HR Magazine, as seen in Employee Recruitment & Retention, March 2004.

The top ten reasons to develop an internship program

  1. Inexpensive way to find motivated, skilled employees
  2. “Previewing” ensures a better match
  3. Save on the normal costs of benefits
  4. Complete special project(s)
  5. Interns have great attitudes
  6. Bring new perspectives to old problems
  7. Enhance company reputation on campuses
  8. Create a positive community image
  9. Interns can save other employees’ valuable time
  10. Because internships are short, your program can change with company needs

Source: The Leading Edge, Volume 3, Issue 3, 2003, author unknown.

How to impress candidates at the end of job interviews

It’s important for you to leave job candidates with a good impression of your organization at the end of an initial interview. Here are six ways to do just that:

  • Leave time at the end for job seekers to pose questions on their own.
  • Address such basic issues as pay range, work hours and overtime policies, travel or relocation requirements, and dress codes or uniform mandates.
  • Provide an estimate of when you’ll let them know if they’re still under consideration, and outline upcoming steps in the process.
  • Make no promises that could lead to hard feelings.
  • Admit it when you don’t know the answer to one of their questions.
  • Thank interviewees for their time and give them contact info for follow-up queries.

Source: Adapted from “The finish line,” by B. Rosner, A. Halcrow, and A. Levins, onABCNEWS.com

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