I’m not saying anything new when I say that choosing staff is a major critical business decision. The cost of recruiting (both time and dollars), and, more particularly, the cost of the wrong decisions can make choosing staff a stressful, confusing and expensive exercise.
The evaluation of candidates’ information should focus on two factors:
- the “can do” factors (ie, knowledge, skills, competency and aptitude or potential for acquiring new knowledge and skills), as well as,
- the “will do” factors (motivation, interests and other personality characteristics).
In other words, interest is focussed on what a person can and will do.
Both of these factors are essential to successful job performance. A person who has the ability (ie, “can do”) but not the motivation to use it or to grow (ie, “will not do”) is little better than someone who is willing however unable to do the job.
So, how does the employer make a decision? Like everything in business, there is no magic answer. The strategy to making selection decisions for one job may be different from that used for another. Having said this, here is some things to think about:
- what is the job all about – will it stay the same over time or will it evolve and grow with the business.
- what is the future growth of the business – is it better to employ someone with very high skills who can hit the ground running in the job quickly, or is future potential and growth capabilities better, taking a long term approach.
- should someone be hired according to their potential or according to the immediate needs of the business.
- what’s in it for the employee – what are they looking for in an employer and employment and does this match what can be offered.
- on what basis is salary (and other remuneration) determined for the immediate and the future.
- how will people be employed – full-time, part-time, casual, contract etc.
- what induction and training would be needed.
- how long would it be expected the person would stay in the employment (does it matter).
- will there be opportunities for advancement within the business as an incentive to stay.
- what probation period would be used.
- what performance needs to be met to confirm employment.
Getting the right person for the right job at the right time has enormous benefits for a business. However the decision cannot be taken lightly.
In my travels as a recruitment consultant I came across a wonderful description of the Perfect Employee –
- Would not shy away from hard work and could find things that need to be done without the direction of others.
- Would get to work on time every time and not put at risk the lives of others in an attempt to be the first to leave each day.
- Would listen carefully when spoken to and ask only enough questions to ensure the accurate undertaking of the work.
- Would be honest and ethical, telling the truth every time.
- Would not sulk or complain when emergencies arise requiring extra effort and time.
- Would be cheerful, courteous and helpful to everyone and determined to make good.
- Would be enthusiastic and motivated to achieve.
- Would have the requisite education, skills and experience.
- Friends / Relatives
- Existing staff / Previous Staff
- Network Colleagues / Suppliers
- Newspaper advertising
- Internet Advertising (seek.com.au / careerone.com.au)
- Twitter / Facebook / Linkedin
- Recruitment Agencies – Job Network/Specialists/Not for Profit
- Recruitment Consultants – Balanix Solutions
- University / TAFE / Schools – intranet postings
- Door signage
- Industry Organisations – Publications/website
I am all for documented procedures and processes being used by business owners. Knowledge, consistency and compliance equals efficiency, productivity, less errors and reduced rework. However, like Erika’s job interview, procedures and lack of training can have the opposite effect.
In relation to Job interviews, why have a process? Well, the answer lies in why do an interview in the first place?
Most interviewing processes include a job interview. Selectors have read the written application and matched it to the Job Description requirements – this is where a good Job Description comes in handy. But job applications cannot always reflect the candidate accurately.
Candidates are encouraged to present a Resume or CV to get noticed. Many invest in Professional Resume and CV Writers or seek other help to ensure the best advantage (can’t blame them). However, as the recruiter, you need to test and validate what is being claimed in the written application to ensure they are the right person for the job and your business.
And this is where the interview comes in. The interview process needs to be structured sufficiently to ensure you find out everything you want to know and that you comply with laws and regulations, but not so structured that the only ticks are that you followed the process but don’t really know anything further about the candidate.
Face to face, the recruiter can hear the language the candidate uses, see how they respond to questions and begin to build rapport (or otherwise) with the prospect. Make sure when you are interviewing you use open questions (not closed questions) to ensure the candidate can talk (remember – you want to know what they know not what you already know).
Examples of Open Questions are:
- Tell me a time when …
- Have you ever experienced …. And if so, how did you handle it?
- You mention in your application you worked on … project. Could you expand on this for me?
- When you worked in …. Team, what role specifically did you have and what contributions did you make?
These questions allow the candidate to talk thereby opening up opportunities for the recruiter to explore information further with follow-up questions.
Closed questions are ones that can be answered Yes or No and don’t give the opportunity to really obtain much information. Examples of these types of questions are:
- You indicted in your application you have experience in … is that right?
- You mention in your application you worked on … project. Did you do things like …… in this project?
- When you worked in …. Team was the team successful in its work?
The right questions and the right process can get from the candidates exactly what they know, what their experience is, how they fit with the culture of your business and what type of employee they will be.
Job interviews can be quite stressful for both the Candidates and the Interviewer. As the Interviewer, you are coached to ask open questions in order to get candidates to provide information to help with decision making. At some point in most job interviews, the Interviewer will ask candidates if they have any questions. Here are ten answers to this question, candidates have provided:
- “If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be?” Megan Garnett, Articulate Leadership Team, Articulate Communications Inc
- “What do you want me to do if I cannot walk to work if it’s raining? Can you pick me up?” Christine Pechstein, Career Coach
- “Can we wrap this up fairly quickly? I have someplace I have to go.” Bruce Campbell, VP of Marketing, Clare Computer Solutions
- “What is your company’s policy on Monday absences?” Campbell
- “If this doesn’t work out can I call you to go out sometime?” Christine Bolzan, Founder of Graduate Career
- “How big do the bonuses really get once you make associate? I hear it is some serious cash.” Bolzan
- “When you do background checks on candidates, do things like public drunkenness arrests come up?” Bolzan
- “So, how much do they pay you for doing these interviews?” Jodi R. R. Smith, Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting
- “Can I bring my bike into the interview with me? I’m nervous it might get stolen from Reception.” Anon
- “Can I just phone my Mum to check if there are any questions I should ask?” Anon
As an interviewer, be prepared!