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.

How Important Is a Smile?

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I read a great article today from Dan Waldschmidt. Dan also wrote a very different type of business book called Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Can Achieve Outrageous Success. I’m enjoying the book and highly recommend it.

Here’s an excerpt of Dan’s article on “smiles”:

A smile can change the course of an entire day for you. One kind word from someone you respect can brighten your outlook and enrich your ability to perform at a higher level.

It’s true for you. It’s true for the people you work with, go to church with, play sports with, and those you just happen to bump into from time to time.

A smile goes a long way.

For you and for them.

While you are strategizing ways to develop better leaders and empower your workforce, don’t overlook the impact of team members who know how to smile.

I agree with this 100%. A smile can cut through a room filled with tension; a smile can sometimes blow away a person’s irritation; a smile can even make a person feel safe.

I could go on about what a “smile” can do but I think you get the idea.

So how is this a Hiring Tip?

Well, if I’m making a decision on a position and I have two people who are both equally qualified for the position, I’m going to hire the person who is free with their smiles.

Look, I realize I may sound a little light in the head on this one. After many years of interviewing thousands of people—add to that years of delivering personality tests that helps companies hire the right people—well, I’ve learned a few things about who’s going to outperform the next guy.

So, put me on record: I’ll take the person who smiles with ease. I know they are in better shape than most and I know they’ll infuse a better attitude around them.



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

Tell Me About Your Fellow Employees


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We’re all familiar with the employee who far too often criticizes other employees.

Here’s an example from Alice:

“You know, I’ve been wanting to tell you something about Mary but I’ve hesitated because I didn’t want to seem like I was complaining about her.”

“Oh, what’s up with Mary?”

“Well, she isn’t doing what she’s supposed to be doing. She spends a lot of time chatting with others and I think she’s doing other things on her computer besides work-related things.”

“Well, thanks for the heads up, Alice.”

Then, a few days later:

“I think I should also tell you Frank might be taking supplies home with him. I saw him put something in his pocket just before leaving the office.”

And a week doesn’t go by when Alice doesn’t point out something real or imagined that is not quite right with her co-workers.

One thing you do not hear from Alice is praise of her co-workers. She only passes on criticisms and complaints.

Let’s consider this in terms of hiring new staff. Is there a way you could find out if the prospect in front of you is given to this kind of complaining?

Here is one way you might approach this.

“Frank, your résumé indicates you worked for a dental practice for the past three years. What was it like working with the other staff there?”

Perhaps Frank asks for a bit of clarification.

“Well, how difficult was it to work with the other employees at the practice?”

Now, I realize the question is a bit loaded by asking “how difficult was it” but we’re hoping to elicit from Frank how he really felt about his co-workers. And asking him the question in this way could reveal considerable critical remarks.

If Frank thought highly of his fellow employees, the question would just bounce off of him and Frank will tell you how good it was working with them.

Either way, finding out ahead of time what a candidate thinks of their co-workers is a compelling insight into their potential behavior with your group.



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

Are Younger Applicants Distressing You?


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In speaking with many business owners over the years, one concern that is coming up is a particular attitude presented by “younger applicants.” We’re talking an age range of 18 to 25.

So, what’s the problem?

First of all (in the words of one or more of our Presidents) let me make one thing perfectly clear: This is definitely not a problem that can be attached to all applicants in this age range.

But a growing number of business owners are experiencing a “shift in attitude.” Instead of the applicant giving a good accounting of how he or she can help the business, the emphasis is shifting to what can the business do for the applicant?

When asked tough questions that focus on the applicant making a commitment to the new company, the answers back are often not making a compelling case for the applicant.

The easy answer to this is to keep looking, keep interviewing. But sometimes the position you have open attracts only a certain kind of applicant, and in your local area, that applicant is young and not particularly skilled.

So, what can you do?

Here’s one idea.

When your applicant has made his “demands” as to what he feels you should provide him and/or has given a less than lackluster commitment to you and your company, flip the tables.

“Well, Sally, you make good points. Let me ask you this, ‘why should I hire you?’”

Or…

“Well, Sally, you make good points. Let me ask you this, ‘if this were your company, and I came in and said the exact things you just said, would you hire me?’”

See if you can get the applicant to step back and examine his attitude a bit.

Perhaps this applicant doesn’t respect that people work very hard to put a company on the map and they come to the table believing they should be treated as your equal, regardless of their lack of skills and experience.

Some may have not worked very hard most (or even all) of their life and were essentially given the wherewithal to survive. Now they’re looking for a job with you and they still feel they should be given things, like a job, pay, perks, etc.

I’m speculating here, but I imagine this makes sense to some of you.

Getting your applicant to examine his attitude is of course no assurance that the attitude will undergo any dramatic change.

But, I think you will feel better having that kind of conversation and there’s a good shot your applicant will walk off wondering if maybe, just maybe, the world, outside of home and school, is not arranged the way it has been.



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

Hiring Tips From the Folks at Google #3

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This is the last in a three part series regarding hiring advice given by two former Google execs.

So, let’s get right to it.

Do hire people who are well rounded, with unique interests and talents.

Don’t hire people who live only to work.

I think “unique interests and talents” may be a stretch for some of us. If candidate A is very trainable and has a great attitude, then unique interests and talents may not be essential.

And the person who lives only to work? If our applicant is young and wishes to put everything into his work for a good chunk of time, who are we to argue?

Very long term, yes let’s get someone more well rounded.

Do hire people who are ethical and who communicate openly.

Don’t hire people who are political and manipulative.

This one is a serious no brainer. The more ethical your employee is, the more willing he is to communicate, the better results you’re going to see from Day One.

And of course you do not want employees who are going to manipulate their way around the workplace and into better positions.

Do hire only when you’ve found a great candidate.

Don’t settle for anything less.

We discussed this to some degree in the last tip. Google, with its incredibly deep pockets, can hang in there for the great candidate.

The rest of us? Maybe yes, but sometimes we’ve got to pull the trigger on people that are not ideal because, well, someone’s got to stock the shelves and somebody’s got to answer the phones.

It’s interesting to see how these former Google execs view the hiring process. Some of their advice is spot on and some needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Either way, good hiring to you!



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

Hiring Tips From the Folks at Google #2

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This is second in a series of three tips, in which we discuss hiring advice given by former Google execs.

Here’s the first set:

Do hire people who are enthusiastic, self-motivated, and passionate.

Don’t hire people who just want a job.”

Good advice, but it begs the question: can every position at your company be filled with an enthusiastic, self-motivated and passionate individual? How self-motivated does the fellow stocking the shelves need to be? Does he need to be passionate about those items he’s taking from a box and placing on a shelf?

I’m not trying to be sarcastic here. It’s a decent question. Especially when many business owners tell me that a large number of applicants are NOT very motivated at all, with many of them just needing a job.

My advice is to hold out for the best qualities for every position at your company. That’s not always practical, but you certainly won’t get what you want if you don’t, well, want it enough.

Let’s move on to the next hiring advice from the folks at Google:

Do hire people who inspire and work well with others.

Don’t hire people who prefer to work alone.”

You definitely want to hire people who work well with others. You could have a very skilled individual who continually rubs the other staff the wrong way. Eventually you find yourself in a “juggling act” of whether his adverse effects on the workplace outweigh his positive contributions.

Someone prefers to work alone? Well, that’s not the most social characteristic, but maybe she’s a phenomenal producer and, if allowed to work on her own, will give you what you need and maybe then some.

But, generally speaking, I’d be concerned about someone who doesn’t want to work with others.

And finally:

Do hire people who will grow with your team and with the company.

Don’t hire people with narrow skill sets or interests.”

This last tip deals with a problem I see coming up more and more these days. New hires that only want the job for a short spell. Maybe 6 months. Maybe 2-3 years. But no long term ambitions and no compelling interest to “grow” with the company.

Again, do your best to hold out for someone who does have a long term view of his employment with you.

All in all, hiring can be a tough proposition. You want the very best, but you’re not sure the very best are going to show up. You’re not sure you can even afford to bring on the very best if they do apply.

So, there’s going to be compromise. As the weeks and months move along, I would recommend steering that compromise more and more towards getting the best.

Keep your eye on the mountain!



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