When there is an opening in your group or area, hiring becomes necessary. Bringing someone new in should be a complete and thorough process. After all, having a gut feel about someone is good, but it is far from foolproof and bringing in the wrong person has consequences. These consequences can be financial, time, or morale oriented. Doing it correctly is critical.
Here are 12 process points of successful hiring.
1. Know what your needs are. What exactly will the person need to be able to do to be successful in the job? This question is critical as it covers technical abilities, interpersonal skills, commitment, work ethic, and anything else deemed critical to success in the job.
2. Allow people’s past be the story of their future. Sure, people can change. When and how, for any individual, is anyone’s guess. Are you prepared to wager that a person is truly changed over their past performance because they told you so? If you suspect that someone has changed or improved greatly over what their former performance indicates, then find out the specifics of the changes. How did they occur? Why did they occur?
3. Eliminate obtuse questions. Many people have an affinity for questions like, “If you were a tree/car/animal, what type would you be?” or, “If you could have dinner with anyone real or fictional, who would it be?” The answers to these questions are measured against the questioner’s personal values system, so it becomes very subjective. Really, the most typical information that comes out of these questions is how much the interviewee is like the interviewer. At best, you find that the interviewee is a concrete thinker and can’t easily create hypothetical situations in their mind enough to come up with good options on the spot. Knowing the person is a concrete thinker or a creative is good info, but simply putting concrete thinkers into a tough situation to determine that probably isn’t the best way to conduct an interview.
4. Put the interviewee at ease. You want to see the best they can give you in the interview and they want to give it. Do your part to put them into a position to give it to you.
5. Know that people try to give you the best in the interview. It all goes downhill to a degree after that. A person can maintain their best for the short time the interview is going on, but when hired, they don’t necessarily maintain this spiked level of performance. Each person operates at a steady level that is something less than the ultra-high level they put forth in the interview. If you don’t like, even a little bit, what a person brings to the table in the interview, don’t expect it to get better once hired.
6. Only interview people that are qualified on paper. Create a step in the process where you eliminate everyone that doesn’t meet every criteria you’ve set up for the job. Only spend your time with the best of the best on paper.
7. Prepare for the interview. Remember, the interview is about fit. If you’ve done your work ahead of time, you’ve filtered everyone you’ll be meeting and they’ve all proven qualified already. With that, you don’t have to spend much time focused on qualifications, instead you can focus on attitude, required interpersonal skills, work ethic, and overall fit. The fit is about the system you’ve established and the abilities (or lack of them) that others they’ll be working with already possess.
8. Know your comfort zone. You know that you’ll be most comfortable with people that are like you. Don’t fill your workplace up with clones and semi-clones of yourself. Instead, realize what’s missing from your workplace and find people that fill those holes. You’ll wind up with people that think differently, see problems and solutions from all angles and create better outcomes for the organization. Of course, people who think alike might not have as much conflict, but, creating productive conflict will take your organization well beyond the level of others that either avoid conflict or don’t engage in it productively.
9. Don’t deal in hypotheticals. Don’t let people in an interview tell you what they would do. That gives no indication of what they have done. Instead rephrase the question so that the person tells you what they have done in a similar situation in the past.
10. Be blunt. If there are any “red flags” based upon anything they’ve written, said, or done in conjunction with the hiring process, be sure to candidly ask about those topics.
11. Know the law. There are many illegal questions when it comes to interviewing. Be certain that you know what you can and cannot legally ask about in an interview.
12. Create a system. A systemic approach to hiring helps to ensure that you can recognize the best people when they are in front of you. The system should cover each step from documentation of the competencies a position requires all the way to making an offer and bringing the person onboard.
Hire right the first time. A good hire saves thousands of dollars, dozens of hours of time, and changes the workplace for the better. Investing the time to do it right, or to hire someone to help you do it right, is always worth it.