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. Look for the audio player and click the “play” button on the right. 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.

Is Passion Overrated?

Passionate Person

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Some companies concentrate on hiring people that are passionate about 1) what they do personally and 2) what the company does.

Companies like Google or Apple come to mind. It probably wouldn’t make sense for Apple to hire someone who has never used an Apple computer or an iPhone or someone who did have an iPhone but wasn’t all that thrilled about it.

Google zeroes in on passionate candidates because they know passion drives innovation, and Google is determined to be much more than a search engine.

Some companies, however, are not concerned about passion overall, but for certain positions they want to see great quantities of it.

For example, hiring a sales person.

For this position, it wouldn’t hurt to add a little something to your hiring ad:

“Faint-of-heart need not apply.”

Or

“Please do not apply unless you had a lemonade stand at the age of five.”

But here’s another interesting perspective: what about the person whose passion was awakened or ignited—don’t you just love those two terms—when they got going on a new job AND when they began the job, they had no real inkling they’d even enjoy doing it. I mean, passion starts somewhere, right? Sometimes a completely different job or type of job will bring this out of us.

So I’d say “passion” is a variable quality. If you’re selling shoes, it’d be great to have a salesperson passionate about what a shoe looks like on each and every person in front of them. Even to the point where the salesperson could say, “Oh no. That is absolutely not you.” The prospective customer may respond back with, “Well, thank you for being so honest!” And ten minutes later a shoe sale is made with the right shoe.

But are you always going to find that passionate shoe salesperson? Or hygienist? Or billings and collections person?

Not always. So, hold out as long as you can for passion, but remember, with the right person, you could very well create a bit of this infectious quality as things move along.



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

How Can One Possibly Equal Three?

Kip Tindell CEO Container Store

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I was reading today about Kip Tindell, the 61-year-old Chairman and CEO of The Container Store. He started out in 1978 with two friends and a whopping investment of $35,000.

Today The Container Store has 6,000 employees, 67 locations in the US and annual sales of nearly $800 million.

Mr. Tindell believes a key reason for the success of the store is what he calls their 1 equals 3 hiring philosophy:

‘1 Equals 3’ is our hiring philosophy. One great person equals three good people in terms of business productivity. We have to be selective when interviewing potential employees because of the brand promise we’ve made to our customers to provide exceptional customer service.

We hire only about 3% of all who apply. If you indeed believe that with one great employee, you get three times the productivity of a good employee, you can afford to extensively train them and communicate to them, empower them and pay them 50 to 100% more than what other retailers might pay them.

Our 1=3 employees have tremendous tenure with the company. They feel like owners of the company and strive to do what’s right for each other and our customers every single day.

It’s a win-win-win. Employees win because they’re getting paid twice as much… and what a delight for the entire team to work alongside other great people! The company wins because it gets three times the productivity at two times the payroll cost. But most importantly, customers win with extraordinary service!

I think that’s an incredible philosophy!

It might take us a bit of time to groove in that kind of approach to hiring, but get the idea of having only GREAT employees.

I should point out one other thing Mr. Tindell said:

We’re talking about business productivity. Of course, no one person is better than another person as a person. But if you can, why not hire great people? And you can pay them twice as much and still save, since you get three times the productivity at two times the cost. They win, you save money, the customers win, and all the employees win because they get to work with someone great. These people are the best in the industry, and I can’t wait to get up in the morning and work with them.

I love hearing how successful business owners make their way through the hiring process.

What do you think? Is this something you can do?



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

Let’s Walk Through Your Résumé

Crusoe's résumé

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In an earlier Hiring Tip or two, I mentioned a learning experience I had while visiting my local Barnes and Nobles book store.

Every so often, I make it a point to check out the “Hiring” section at the book store. What I find almost always surprises me. Shelves…yes, shelves of books devoted to two subjects:

  • How to write a great résumé and
  • How to do exceptionally well in the hiring interview

If I do a rough count, I’ll see 60-80 books on these two topics. And, as time rolls along, new titles show up.

How to write a great résumé and how to do exceptionally well in the hiring interview.

On the one hand, we do like to see prospective employees come prepared. Preparation is good. But, from the viewpoint of those making hiring decisions, we also want to find out what’s really going on with our applicants.

How will they respond to different situations in the workplace?

Are they honest?

Are they trustworthy?

Are they dependable?

Many of the Hiring Tips were written to help you get the “straight scoop” from your applicants. To ask them questions they perhaps were not anticipating so you can make better hiring decisions.

So, let’s see if we can do that with this tip as well.

Both of you will have a copy of the résumé in front of you. Ask the applicant to “walk you through” each part of it. Obviously you can skip over the basic contact information, but after that, let’s get some feedback on:

Objectives

Experience

Education

Skills

Interests and Activities

References

Granted, résumés can be different, but most résumés will address the above subjects.

Do some people “pad” their résumés? Well, we all know the answer to that. I couldn’t tell you what percentage do this, but it’s conceivable that those who pad their résumé do so because they believe others are doing the same thing.

The key to the effectiveness of this tip is your observation of the applicant as he walks you through each part of the résumé—his résumé!

In other words, when you ask him to amplify a particular point of experience on the résumé, watch him carefully as he goes over this with you.

The honest candidate should be able to easily and comfortably clarify or expand on any part of the résumé. The candidate who padded or exaggerated a particular point (or points) will have some uneasiness describing it in further detail.

Unfortunately there are a few who can look you in the face and lie with incredible ease. They won’t flinch. But you shouldn’t see too many of this kind of person.

Essentially you will see those who honestly filled in every detail of their résumé and they will have no difficulty walking you through it. And you will see those who are somewhat or even very uncomfortable giving you the supporting information that you request.

If you decide to use this tip, you’ll find your powers of observation improving the more you pay close attention to how your applicant communicates to you.



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

Count the Number of Times She Said…

Woman counting

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Here is an interesting approach to the hiring interview.

Ask the applicant a series of questions about how he handled certain tasks at his previous jobs and how he might handle specific tasks with your company.

Questions along the lines of:

In what ways did you help out fellow employees?

How did you sort out conflicts with other employees?

What were the three key things you did to assist the company in achieving its goals?

How would you assist our company to prosper?

Which questions you ask is not that crucial.

The point here is to add up all of the times the applicant said “I” and all of the times he said “we.”

Did the applicant go on and on using the word “I” or did he get a few “we’s” in there? Did he use the “we” word a good number of times?

This approach could give you a quick clue as to how team-oriented your applicant is.

Does he only think in terms what he is capable of doing or does he believe that considerably more can be accomplished with an emphasis on team work.

It’s good to hear what he thinks of himself and his skills. That’s why he’s in front of you being interviewed. But it’s also nice to hear a few “we’s” from time to time.



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

Why Did You Leave Your Job?

Lady and bullhorn

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This is a fairly common question to ask an applicant. If the person is still employed, but is out and about looking for a new job, then the question of course changes to “why are you leaving your current job?”

The next time you go to a bookstore—my local one is Barnes and Nobles—take a few minutes and look over the books available in the hiring section.

In my bookstore, there are several SHELVES of books to help job hunters. All told, perhaps a hundred books on the subject. And that’s just the more current ones.

The majority of the books zero in on helping the job hunter write a great résumé and perform well in the hiring interview.

I would imagine the question “Why did you leave (or are leaving) your current job?” is discussed in many of these books.

So, what does that mean to you?

Well, it means there’s a good chance you’re going to get a rehearsed or prepared answer to this question.

To whatever extent possible, we want to cut through the rehearsed answer and get to why the person has left or is planning to leave.

Here’s one idea:

Before you ask the question directly of the applicant, ask a slightly different version of the question:

“Mary, if I were to contact your previous employer, what is he likely to say is the reason you left?”

If the person is currently employed, then of course this question wouldn’t be asked.

Mary has most likely not prepared herself for this version of the question, so you’re likely to get some information that you might not ordinarily get.

Yes, this puts Mary on the spot. But, from my perspective, I believe it’s fair for you to hear how she views both sides of the coin.

Here’s another approach, this time with the person who is still employed but is out interviewing with you.

First, you would simply ask why Mary wants to leave her current job.

When she responds, you could say,

“I understand. Have you discussed with your employer that you are out looking for other employment?”

When that is answered, you could ask,

“With regards to the issue you mentioned that you feel is compelling you to end your employment there, to what extent have you discussed this with your employer?”

Now these types of questions I’m offering here are pretty direct questions. They may cause a bit of irritation on the part of the applicant. The answers you get may also demonstrate your candidate has a good sense of ethics.

Whatever you discover, it is likely to give you considerably more insight than a simple asking of “Why did you leave?”



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