Welcome To The Hiring Tips!

Hello and thank you for stopping by. I’m Stan Dubin, the Executive Director of The Employee Testing Center.

Our employee testing service has been helping companies make better hiring decisions for over ten years now. Whether you use our service or not, I decided a running collection of “Hiring Tips” would be helpful.

These tips address the full scope of hiring: employee motivation, skills, pay, testing, and evaluation. There are tips on what to ask, what not to ask and how to avoid dangerous hiring mistakes. There are 20 plus tips on hiring and the law that our readers have found very helpful.

Most of the tips now also include a podcast version. If you’d prefer to listen on your smart phone, iPod, etc., subscribe via iTunes.

All in all, we want you hiring better staff.

Enjoy!



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


How Well Do They Collaborate?

Revised workload

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I was listening to a podcast earlier today about different business strategies and the subject of collaboration came up. After working with quite a few companies, the speaker concluded this was a weak link for many of them.

He felt that perhaps some of this was due to the original formation of the word itself.

“Collaborate” had as one of its earlier or perhaps earliest meanings: “to cooperate with the enemy.” I recall from various stories and movies about World War 2, a collaborator was someone who helped the Germans in various countries they had invaded.

Well, I’m not so sure this earlier definition would be a reason that people in today’s workplace might have a difficult time working with others.

But the ability to work with others IS an important quality to look for when hiring.

A business can grow nicely or be severely held back solely on the amount of cooperation that occurs amongst its individuals and groups.

Does the marketing department work well with the sales department and vice versa? Or do they give each other lip service and just go about doing things the way they want to. Or worse, are they at odds because each department “knows best”?

But let’s concentrate here on one person’s ability to collaborate: your applicant.

How well can she work with others?

Does she work well with others because management wants her to, or because she herself believes it’s the best way to get things done?

Let’s find out.

“Alice, tell me about a couple of projects you’ve done at previous companies that required a considerable amount of collaboration on your part.”

Or, “Frank, tell me about a time when you observed something was not going to get done on time or was not going to get done very well unless you personally cooperated with the others involved at a much higher level than you are used to.”

Of course, you’ll want to listen for what Alice and Frank did that showed they were actually working WITH other people.

But you want to be listening for something more. You want to see if Alice or Frank felt they were making things succeed because of their personal involvement OR if they really understood the value of working WITH other people as the compelling force at work.

And maybe even one more thing to keep your radar tuned for: did they enjoy the collaboration?

If your applicant feels collaboration is a valuable means of getting things done and if they genuinely enjoy doing so, well, I’d say you’ve got a keen insight into a potential employee.

Would you agree?



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


How Do They Handle Unpredictability?

Tough job interview

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Day-to-day business life can often be very hectic. We’d like to have things orderly and predictable, but it’s just not always going to be that way.

The famous heavyweight boxer, Mike Tyson, once said, “Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth.”

Well, business life tends to punch us in the mouth every so often. Some of us can handle that very well, others not so much.

So, let’s find out how a candidate might deal with uncertainty or unpredictability or even getting punched in the mouth.

Start the Interview 30 Minutes Late

Then ask the applicant why he’s 30 minutes late?

Okay, I even winced a bit writing that, but you’ll get an immediate idea of how your applicant handles opposition or a challenge.

Will the applicant buckle and, to keep the peace, say, “Oh, sorry for being late.”

Or will he hold to his notion that he was on time and you’re late.

Will he get flustered, even a bit upset?

Whatever happens, you’ve thrown a curve his way and you’re getting a first hand look at how he handles it.

Ask Her the Same Question Over and Over

Again, I’m wincing (come on, I am human), but this is another example of deliberately trying to fluster our applicant.

Here’s an example:

You ask Carol to tell you about her last employment. Carol gives you a good report on that. You move on to a few other parts of the interview and then ask, “Okay, Carol, why don’t you tell me about your last employment?”

Again, you discuss other aspects of the job interview and then, “Carol, tell me about your last employment.”

Now, that’s the third time asking about her last employment. The second time, she probably thinks that you forgot that you already asked or perhaps you want to know more about that time period, but a third time? What gives?

Do we dare and go for a fourth time?

I’ll leave it to you, but you get the idea. We’re challenging Carol’s poise, and we want to see how she responds.

Will she keep her cool and answer professionally?

Or will we see something less than professional.

Challenge Her Answers

This is probably one of the toughest hiring tips I’ve written. By now, I’m sure you understand why.

We’ll stay with Carol on this.

Carol tells you that she’s very skilled at handling a management position. She feels she has excellent leadership qualities.

Your response could be:

“I don’t think that’s true.”

And then say nothing. Wait until Carol responds.

She’ll likely ask you why you feel that way.

You could say, “Well, I just don’t sense you’re telling me the truth.”

I won’t begin to tell you what may happen next, but be prepared for just about anything.

And of course, be sure to keep your cool all the way through this kind of interview.

Life in the business world can move along smoothly until a customer comes up to us and calls us a liar or demands their money back right now, right now or yells at us in front of five other customers.

Or a supplier tells us they can’t deliver that item you urgently needed this morning until you pay your bill and you know the bill is fully paid. The supplier has got to hang up now and attend his daughter’s wedding, so you won’t be able to supply the evidence that the bill is paid until after the wedding and the reception! Way too late for you.

When these circumstances punch us in the mouth, we’ve got to have staff who can calmly and effectively do what’s needed.

If you’re hiring for a position that requires considerable poise in the face of daily challenges, you might consider this tip during the hiring interview. It will likely not be a boring interview.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


Contribution Goes Both Ways

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

A good number of us are searching for that new employee who will come on board and contribute at a very high level.

We envision this person quickly grasping the duties of the position and working hard and smart. We see this person getting along super well with other employees, being extra productive and, in just about every way, being an ideal employee.

Is there anything wrong with this picture?

Of course not. There’s everything right in wanting that phenomenal employee who not only produces like mad, but helps others around them produce more than usual.

I’ll mention two components here that will help you attract and keep such an employee.

1) Advertise to prospective employees that you’re looking for people who want to contribute at a very high level AND who expect that same contribution coming back to them.

2) Deliver on your end of it.

I’m going to assume you’re willing to carry out number 2 here.

So what are some ways you can do that?

The obvious one is to pay someone what they’re worth. If they produce like gangbusters for you, and their contribution has a tangible effect on your bottom line, then exchange accordingly.

But there are other ways to contribute back to real producers.

The first and most overlooked one is:

Acknowledging them for what they do.

When they produce well, let them know you appreciate it.

“Bob, you did a fabulous job with that client.”

“Mary, you really handle the daylights out of the reception area. It makes a real difference around here.”

“Frank, I really appreciate you putting in the extra time to get that project done. You’re a real life saver!”

A little acknowledgement goes a long way. Just remember the last few times somebody genuinely validated you for a job well done.

There are other ways to show your appreciation. Perks of various kinds. The key point of this tip is:

The best way to attract and keep top producers is to convince them you know that contribution goes both ways and then keep your end of it.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


Asking Weird Questions

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

I recently read an article about asking candidates weird questions.

One example is asking a person to define a completely made up word, for example “biscomfordable” or “deggasorrific.”

I think the viewpoint here is to see how the candidate reacts. Will she think about it for awhile and try to come up with some kind of definition or will she simply say, “I’m not familiar with that word.”

Another example is a math question that has a really obvious answer:

“If a person has 3 apples and they cost a total of $3.00, how much is each apple?”

Of course the answer is fifty cents.

Okay, now I did that just to see if YOU were paying attention. Yes, the answer is a dollar each.

Again, the idea may be to see how the applicant deals with something a bit out of the ordinary. Will he take a long time trying to figure it out, seeing if maybe it’s a trick question, or will he quickly give you the right answer.

Here’s another question that isn’t asked every day:

“If you could have one super power what would it be?

Now that could produce some interesting answers.

So, are these types of questions valuable? Will they yield information that you can use?

Well, I think you can gain an insight into your applicant to see how he addresses something “out of the ordinary.” Will he be flustered or simply think it over and give an answer?

I also do like the occasional disarming question, especially if the applicant has “rehearsed” answering the usual interview questions.

All in all, it just comes down to learning as much as you can about someone before you hire them. That will always be in your favor.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


Digging Deeper Into Your Candidate’s References

Hiring Tip Image

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

A good employment application will have a section for the candidate to list references. Usually the applicant will enter a few previous employers here.

In an earlier Hiring Tip, I discussed a few ways to check on these references.

Let’s dig a bit deeper here and consider asking some of these questions of previous employers:

• What was Alice’s job title?

• What were her duties?

• How long did she work there?

• How would you rate her performance?

• How well did she get along with co-workers?

• What exceptional qualities did Alice have?

• Are there any qualities you found objectionable?

• Why did Alice leave?

• Would you rehire Alice?

On the employment application, you could also have a place where the applicant can list co-workers they would like to use as a reference.

By all means, contact these co-workers, but it’s likely they’ll give a glowing report.

Here’s a suggest: ask the co-workers to give you a couple of names of other co-workers you could call. This could be interesting.

Now ask these co-workers some of these questions:

• What was it like working with Alice?

• How did she get along with her supervisor?

• How would you rate Alice’s performance?

• Would you start a new company with Alice? Why? Why not?

These are examples of questions you could ask. You’ll likely think of others. The idea here is to do a bit of detective work to get a clearer picture of how Alice will perform at your company.

After all is said and done, the best thing you can do to ensure you hire the right person is to find out as much as you can before you make that decision. Digging deeper into their references is one solid way to accomplish this.



To see how our employee test can help you bring better people on board watch this three minute video.



If you have ever interviewed someone and later discovered a "different" person is working for you, check out our new book How To Hire The Right People.


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