Posts Tagged ‘interviewing’

Find, Develop and Keep the Best Employees

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News & Observer column, The View from HR.

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

When the economy crashes, a blindfolded rhinoceros could find good people to fill open jobs. When labor markets tighten, great hires are in short supply again. It is a cycle as predictable as the tides. Finding, developing and keeping great talent is not complex. It is hard, expensive and time consuming. It means you know what the role requires, what your culture rewards and what your tolerance is for variations. Tight labor markets mean it is time to think differently. Our organization teaches best and next practices to HR professionals and managers. Here are some tips for small and mid-size employers.

People are Human

Every employee eventually reveals their humanity. The key to great hiring is learning what makes this applicant human before you make the hire.  Internal hires, promotions, employee referrals, social networks and live networking give you free previews. References will lie and interviews are usually terrible predictors of future success.  Certain assessment tools will help, if you understand which tool suits your specific needs. Maximize your funnel of applicants that you know something about! Fill that funnel in advance of a need.

Be Specific and Demanding

Spend as much time screening out as you do screening IN. How will you find the best fit if you cave on your criteria early? Look for legitimate job-related reasons to eliminate applicants:  not typos on resumes, but a true lack of skills, experience, desire, capacity and fit. You may have time to purposefully modify your requirements later. For now, stick to your guns.

Interview for Successful Experience

If the role requires experience or judgment, spend interview time on these things. This is not the time to explain your company culture or role requirements. This is the time to test for them. If an applicant cannot describe their solid sales process, it is unlikely they will be an immediate contributor on your sales team. Resist the temptation to overlook serious gaps with the hope energy and effort will prevail.

Get it

Successful, growing businesses are unique. Their best employees “get it,” embracing that uniqueness. Short of a hostile or illegal environment, each employer still has the right to select people who “get” their uniqueness and their customers. A tech start up has a very different “it” than a drywall contractor. Know the “it” and hire people who get “it.”

Developing People
Your best people want development, on the job experiences, rotations and new assignments. The best employees deserve mentoring and coaching.
Training is another great way to introduce new skills.  The point is, development is important for employers to get the most from employees but is also an important retention tool. Good people leave workplaces that offer no growth.

Keep the Best

Great people quit for many reasons, both preventable and unavoidable. Managers are surprised to learn these reasons:

  1. Unrealistic pre-hire expectations
  2. People will exchange some pay for some flexibility, but it must be real flexibility
  3. Employees who feel ignored by their manager may look elsewhere

Stop allowing the economy to guide your commitment to talent acquisition and retention. Grab the reins!

Avoid Making Bad Hire Decisions

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

A great hire can inject a spark in your organization that will spread throughout your workforce and drive everyone to raise the bar.  Likewise, a bad hire can deflate your employees, costing time and resources to either train or replace them with a better fit.

The difference between a great hire and a bad hire can often rely on how the interview is conducted.  Below is a list of common mistakes made during the interview process that you will want to avoid.Bad-Employee - Bad Hire

Overlooking Important Skills

Interviewers will sometimes put too much emphasis on the specific skills required for a position while overlooking traits such as critical thinking or initiative, that are often harder to develop or come by naturally.  Organizational fit is at least as important as technical ability.  Many experts argue fit is more important.

Asking Hypothetical Questions

Some interviewers will ask questions such as “How would you handle a problem client?” or “How would you close a difficult sale?”  These hypothetical questions will yield hypothetical answers.  Instead, use “Tell me about how you once handled a problem client?” or “Tell me about the most difficult sale you had to close”.  These answers will relate real experiences for you to evaluate.

No Follow-up Questions

During an interview, some interviewers will ask only one or two questions regarding each job listed on the candidate’s resume.  Instead, dig deeper in order to get more information.  Zero in on a prior job that is closely related to your opening and spend some quality time on that experience.  The details of that job will give you a better idea of how qualified they are for this position.

InterviewingToo Much Talk About Company

Interviews that spend too much time on the company, its history, its product or services, etc., will yield little information on the candidate’s qualifications.  Remember, you are here to find out about this candidate and their experience.  A serious candidate will have already researched your company and would not be at the interview if they were not interested. Spend the limited amount of time you have on what is important – the candidate.  A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t be talking more than 20% of the interview time.

 

No Live Testing

As they say, “talk is cheap.”  Questions and answers during an interview worked fine in the past.  If you really want to separate your stars from the pack, simulate real activities the candidate will face.  For example, if interviewing candidates for a sales role, have them prepare a slide presentation of their qualifications and “sell” themselves to your team.  This “live test” cannot be conducted for every role, but use it where applicable.

Intimidation

Likely, there is already enough pressure on the candidate during an interview without deliberately adding more.  Some interviewers, however, will try to see how a candidate responds to high-pressure, intimidating interviews.  High pressure and intimidation is not the norm for the workplace or, at least, it should not be.  Therefore, it makes no sense to put the candidate through that.  It might backfire on you and you may lose a top candidate.

One-sided Viewpoint

A smart interviewer will be very candid and up-front with the candidate about both the positive and negative aspects of the job.  By only focusing on the positive aspects, the candidate will begin to wonder what you are not telling him/her.  This will lead to doubt about the position.  Honestly describing everything about the role, on the other hand, will lead to trust and will help you to avoid surprises down the line.

Inconsiderate or Unprofessional

Never start an interview late or cancel at the last minute without offering an apology.  Do not read your emails or accept phone calls during an interview.  This sends a message to the candidate that they are not important to you or your organization.

Average Attention for Above-average Candidates

Interviewers should remember the candidate is also interviewing the company during an interview session and afterwards.  Top candidates typically have multiple options from which to choose. If you are interested in a specific candidate, let them know by paying special attention to them after the interview. Send a thank-you email and provide them with your positive feedback on how you felt the interview went.  Have a manager or potential employee peer reach out to them and ask if they have any further questions.  Show definite signs of interest on your part in order to keep their interest.

Hire Personalities, Not Skills and Experience

Too often, we tend to want to hire people we like based on their personality or how well they get through an interview.  Do not fall into this trap.  At the end of the day, you want the brightest and most qualified people as a part of your workforce.  Everyone is different and diversity has a way of bringing out new ideas and new forms of collaboration that leads to greater productivity.

Making a bad hire decision wastes everyone’s time and will take some of the energy and momentum away from your company.  Avoiding these common mistakes during the interview process will give you the best potential for making a great hire and building your workforce with strong, qualified employees.
renee

Renee Watkins is on  CAI’s Advice & Resolution Team.   A seasoned HR professional with practical hands-on experience in various human resource functions, Renee provides solutions to retain and motivate outstanding workforces.  She also specializes in counseling and advising management for best practices, processes and strategies to support employee morale and organizational effectiveness.

5 Recruiting Tips for Your Hiring Needs

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

recruitingAs the job market roars back into the limelight of post-recession America and our national unemployment rate plummets to a satisfying 6.3%, companies from basement start-ups to fortune 500’s are hiring again. The question is, who’s doing all of their recruiting?

Well, it depends. For anyone having grown up in the millennial generation the answer is simple, social media. As our society becomes ever increasingly social, more people are absorbing most if not all of their news, entertainment and career resources from various sites online. As a result, recruiters today have a vast world of social resources that weren’t imaginable even 10 years ago.

But then again, if you ask someone from a more experienced generation, they’ll tell you that while social media does have its advantages, not everyone uses it and there is still something to be said about hiring a professional recruiter to handle everything for you.

Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all method to recruiting, but when so much is riding on making the right decision, one thing is for sure, it’s better to get it right the first time than waste time, money and energy refilling the same positions.

Here are five steps to making sure your next hire is your best hire!

Advertising is key

When trying to attract the right candidates for the job, the first thing you have to address is where to place the post. Who is your audience and where might they look if they were searching for a job? First, you could consider your standard issue job boards such as Careerbuilder.com, Monster.com, Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com. Next, we would recommend finding sites that directly relate to your industry or a particular career area. Many professions have sites, communities or organizations dedicated specifically to collaborate and host jobs boards for people of a particular skill set. Then, you should consider any credible social media outlets that could help. LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for recruiting.

Thorough screening process

Once you’ve posted your openings on a few job boards, you should start receiving resumes. If you’re not seeing any responses you may want to go back and reevaluate your previous posting decisions. Sifting through an inbox full of resumes may very well seem like a daunting task, but it is by far one of the most important steps to eliminating those who are not right for the position. To make the selection process easier, you can start by automatically deleting the applicants who:

  • Have spelling errors
  • Forgot to attach a resume/document
  • Did not follow your instructions

Not saying that they’re not qualified, but if they don’t care enough to check their spelling or follow instructions, are they really the candidate you’re looking for?

 

Assessment Tools

Once you’ve whittled your list down, it’s always a good idea to test their knowledge, because anyone can look good on paper! Testing could range from a simple computer test, to a more complex test of their skill set or even a comprehensive personality test so you know exactly who they are regardless of what they seem like over the phone.

 

Interviewing

After you’ve gathered your applicants’ test results, you should have a much smaller list than you started out with. At this point, it’s time for the in-person interview. This should give you a much better understanding of how your applicants carry themselves.

  • Are they professional?
  • Are they knowledgeable?
  • Are the able to hold a conversation and maintain enthusiasm for what they do?
  • Can you see yourself working with this person in the future?

If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then you may have yourself a winner!

 

Background checking

Lastly, and quite frankly one of the most important steps in the hiring process is the background check. Your candidates may have an impressive resume, pass your assessments and all of their interviews with flying colors, but do they have a criminal past? If so, that’s something that they should have already mentioned when you ask them for permission to do a background check and if they didn’t why? Are they embarrassed or are they hiding something? Either way, you need someone who will always be forthcoming and honest with you, and a background check will not only eliminate those questions, but also give you the peace of mind that you’re hiring who you think you are.

For more information on recruiting or CAI’s recruiting services, please contact Jill Feldman, jill.feldman@capital.org 919.431.6084 or Molly Hegeman, molly.hegeman@capital.org 919.713.5263.