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5 Ways to Improve the Standard Interview Process
You know that the people you hire are the face of your company representing your vision. The people you hire are the assets which underpin your success. As an astute employer, you know that building a happy and productive team means having a dynamic interview and selection process with a constant focus on building a company culture of talented team players.
Know What You Need
It isn’t enough that you have a detailed job description of the position you want to fill. This is where the key job functions are listed. That’s the easy part. The more difficult and even more critical list is the one that addresses the competencies of the applicant. We call this list a profile. Your profile will include a wide range of qualities such as:
- Communication skills
- Relevant job experience
- Required licenses and certifications
- Attitude toward criticism
- Does he want to do the work
- Does he have the personality to accomplish the job
- Imagine the applicant at the Company Picnic. Does he fit in?
- Is he a blame placer, or can he accept responsibility for his own errors?
The list can be quite long, but should include each of the qualities you see in your very best employees. Some of these things will apply to all the positions in your operation. Others will be less important, but by visiting each quality as it relates to the applicant, you will be able to better evaluate the applicant in terms of his attitude to make it in your operation. (Examples of profiles and how to create your own can be found in, Hiring Talented Team Players, an e-book written by The Hire Talent team.)
Get Into Their Heads
Particularly now, with so many Americans out of work, it’s important for you to understand that the rules of the hiring game have changed. The good news is there are probably more qualified candidates than you would ordinarily be able to attract. The bad news is, poorly qualified candidates have learned to be better interviewees. In other words, out of desperation they have become ‘shape shifters.’ A candidate that goes to lots of interviews becomes very good at the drill. He can convince you that the job you’re offering has his name all over it even though he is eminently unqualified in attitude, emotion and personality.
You must use questions designed to get past the “interviewee” and get down to the brass tacks of who this person really is.
Look Beyond the Resume
Believe it or not, the skills the interviewee has are often times less important than his overall attitude and potential ability. When people are fired, it is most often because of their attitude not because they cannot do the work they were hired to do. You are, no doubt, looking for good-natured employees who are loyal, hard working, competent and thorough. You also need to look as deeply into his personality as you can.
One way to do this is to look at how this interview spends his off-duty hours. Does he volunteer? Does he coach Little League? Is he a hiker? Does he paint? When you get to these truths about the applicant, discussions about values will follow. Look to see if his values are aligned with your own. If they are not, he will not likely fit into your company’s culture.
Use More Eyes
It isn’t always convenient to arrange for a job candidate to shadow one of your star employees for a day, but it’s worth the effort to do so. Your eyes see a good bit, but another set of eyes, in the person of one of your best and brightest, will tell you more. The applicant may open up more to someone who is not the boss. His attitude will be more likely to surface. As a bonus, your Star will shine a little brighter because you trusted him/her with such an important task.
Don’t Wait Until You Have A Vacancy
Good candidates for your team don’t always respond to want ads. Really good employees probably already have a job. You might spot somebody at the supermarket or in the electronics store and say to yourself, “I wish she worked for me.”
So? Invite them to join your team!
Don’t wait until you’re behind the 8-ball or short-handed to upgrade your staff. Be constantly on the look-out for talented people and when you find one, offer them the opportunity to discuss a career with your company.
By never settling for mediocre employees your existing employees will learn to appreciate that you value talented team players. By constantly upgrading the people on your team everyone will see how important being the best really is. The subtle message is, the talented people rise to the top and those whose attitude is lacking, will fall away in time.
When you fit the applicant carefully into the slot you have open, or when you pick an outstanding employee even when you don’t have a slot for him, you send a clear message to your employees. When the process of hiring is seen among your employees as a ‘very big deal,’ they will see themselves in a better light and will be more inclined to preach your values to new hires. The sense of team will solidify around the values you demonstrate. Be sure to set the bar high.
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