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.


Would You Let Your Son or Daughter Marry Your Applicant?

Proposal

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Okay, I realize this is a pretty stiff measurement to use with an applicant, but it is an interesting one.

You’ve read over his résumé, you’re verified as much of it as you possibly can, you’ve tested him on IQ, Aptitude and Personality, you’ve checked with previous employers and you’ve done several in-person interviews with him.

So, would you let him marry your daughter?

Your daughter’s not old enough to get married? Okay, you know what I’m talking about here.

How much do you trust this candidate?

Well, you can ask yourself in a variety of ways how much you trust someone, or you can simply ask yourself would you let him marry your daughter.

Would you approve of her marrying your son?

If your answer is yes, then that really tells you something about the candidate.

If the answer is no, then the next question is “how much of a ‘no’ is that?” If that’s an absolutely, without any shadow-of-a-doubt ‘no’ — well, then you haven’t a very high opinion of your candidate, do you?

Maybe you have a very high opinion of their skills, how polished they came across in the interview, their glowing résumé, but you wouldn’t let them near one of your kids.

Okay, I know this is a bit of an odd way of evaluating an applicant, but doesn’t it quickly give you an insight when you ask yourself this kind of question?

As with all of these wonderful hiring tips, use them as you see fit to help you learn more about people before you make that hiring decision.



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.


Are Soft Skills Eroding?

Eroding Soft Skills

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There are a number of definitions for “soft skills.”

One that I particularly like is:

“The personal attributes you need to work harmoniously with other people and succeed in the workplace.”

Another good one is:

“Desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive, flexible attitude.”

That last definition was interesting. “Desirable qualities for certain forms of employment…” — does that mean there are certain forms of employment where common sense, the ability to deal with people and a positive, flexible attitude are not important or desirable?

Perhaps that is the case, and if so, it brings us to the subject of this tip: “Are soft skills eroding?”

In my humble opinion, the most important soft skill is the ability to communicate…and communicate well.

That means being able to look at the person you’re talking to, giving them a clear statement of your ideas, listening exceptionally well and properly acknowledging the other person…and at the end of a communication, both parties fully understanding each other.

Kind of important, right?

Well, that soft skill may very well be eroding. Are you observing that in your interviews? In the performance of some of your new hires?

Is the skill of communication eroding because we are spending too much time looking at our phones, at our computer screens and not at each other?

Whatever the reason, YOU should not let your interest in soft skills wane. They are vital to the success of any business and a good number of business problems can be traced to employees deficient in them.

So, I’ll make a strong suggestion here. Regardless of who shows up to be interviewed, do not compromise on the soft skills. Hard skills can be taught…the soft ones, not so easily.



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.


Sample Work Versus Probational Hire

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Let’s start this tip off with the disclaimer that I am not an attorney, and if you have ANY questions on this, I recommend you contact your attorney and get legal advice.

I am familiar with the fact that when you hire someone, even on a probational basis, you are hiring them with the expectation they will be paid. That seems pretty straightforward, right?

To my knowledge, “sample work” is something different. You have not made a decision to hire but you would like to see how they would handle some aspect of their projected job.

Giving them sample work to do can provide you considerable insights.

Example:

You’re hiring a software programmer and you’d like to know how proficient they are technically.

Sample work:

Give them a problem to solve in the programming language you are using. Ideally, this problem has already been solved and you’ll see if 1) they can solve it on their own and 2) if they possibly can provide a better solution to what you already have.


 

Example:

You need someone to do collections.

Sample work:

Give them a list of five theoretical accounts. Each account has a name, an amount to be collected and what the status of the account is: recently due, past due 30 days, past due 60 days, etc. You will be the customer in this sample work. Have the applicant go through the process of calling you and working out getting a payment made. Could be a partial payment, could be a full payment. Give your applicant a variety of responses and see how she deals with each.


 

Example:

You need a receptionist.

Sample work:

This one seems pretty simple. Take the person through a series of calls coming in — with you making them and see how your applicant deals with each. You’ll probably need to set a few guidelines on who can be reached and what not, but you get the idea.


 

Example:

You need a salesperson.

Sample work:

Give your applicant a clear picture of what you sell, how much it costs, how it gets delivered, some of its features and benefits. Then take your applicant through several sample selling scenarios.

Some positions can give you “sample work” to carry out in the hiring interview better than other positions. But I’m thinking a considerable number of positions will give you this opportunity.

Finding out just how your applicant would handle things iF he were hired is a great tool for your hiring 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.


The Hiring Juggling Act

Hiring and Juggling

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In reading an article that Anthony Iannarino published on LinkedIn, entitled “Hiring People Based on Their Deficiencies,” I particularly liked this paragraph:

“You are not going to hire perfect people. You are going to hire people who need to develop in some areas. You are hiring human beings, and we all have deficiencies. One of the decisions you are making when you hire is the decision as to whether you can help them improve in some area or mitigate the damage the deficiency causes.”

During the hiring process, when we are presented with an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses, we are doing a bit of a juggling act in our mind. Actually, it’s a two-part juggling act.

The first is simply weighing the apparent points of strength and weakness of the candidate.

The second considers the weaknesses or deficiencies head on. Can these be improved upon? To what degree? And, if you don’t think they can, can any potential damage be kept in an inconsequential range?

If you feel you have someone who could be of value but you just can’t get past the juggling act, then a conditional, or probational hire is worth considering. The time period on these vary, anywhere from a few days to several months.

Even with a probational hire, there’s no guarantee your applicant’s deficiencies will fully manifest, but it will give you considerably more insight than a few hiring interviews.

There is of course the positive side of the ledger here. Will the exposure to you and your staff help the applicant build on his strengths and minimize his weaknesses? If so, my hat’s off to you — you’ve created a great team and a great work environment.



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.


Just How Much Should A Top Producer Fit In?

Top Producer

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We’ve heard for some time now the idea that new employees should “fit in.” They should be able to fit in with the company culture and even the company’s way of doing things.

That’s a fair approach to hiring new people, right? You want your existing staff to feel comfortable with new staff coming on and you want the new person to feel comfortable as well.

With potential top producers, this may be a bit more complicated.

First, let’s look at a definition of the phrase “fit in:”

“Be socially compatible with other members of a group.”

Synonyms for the phrase are:

“Conform, be in harmony, blend in, be in line, be assimilated into.”

A few of those synonyms are something to think about, aren’t they?

“Conform, be in line, be assimilated into.”

But we’ll stay with just the definition for now. What if your applicant may not be someone who will be socially compatible with your existing staff but she is a proven powerhouse producer and could come in and dramatically improve your bottom line?

These individuals are out there. They are top producers, but they do not necessarily get along well with others.

Please note that I did not say all top producers do not get along well with others. But we do run into the very productive individual who is known to rub their fellow staff the wrong way.

Ideally, your potential powerhouse producer will come in and get along with everyone. Ideally.

But you’ve checked with previous employers about this applicant and she indeed was a fabulous producer but she did not treat other staff very well. Eventually, that became the reason to let her go.

Now, I realize I’m giving you a fairly black and white scenario here: amazing producer / horrible team member. But let’s use this scenario to consider a possible approach. A very direct approach.

Present your dilemma to the applicant.

“Mary, I have a dilemma. After speaking with a couple of your previous employers, I’ve learned you are a superb producer. That you get a ton of things done, usually more than you’re asked to do, and that this made you a great asset to their company. I also learned you didn’t get along well with other staff. Are these fair observations?”

We’re hoping that Mary is self-aware enough to simply say, “yes, they are both fair observations.”

“Okay, Mary, thank you for being candid. Well, I’d like to get your help in solving this dilemma. I’d like to hire you, but I’m also interested in having a somewhat harmonious work environment. I’m not talking about everyone getting together for regular weekend barbecues, but I think you know what I mean.

(get some sign of agreement on this)

“So, Mary, what specifically could you do that would help you and your fellow employees get along?”

You’ve presented the problem directly to Mary. She’s agreed that there is a problem, and she’s being asked directly for how SHE can solve the problem.

The answers Mary gives you here should help you immensely in which way to go.

If she’s weak on personal responsibility and shifts too much of the blame on others, not a great sign.

If she gives you some specific ways SHE can make life in your workplace very livable for everyone, that’s a great sign.

You could also tell Mary you’ll hire her on a conditional basis and that you’re really looking forward to her being productive and her getting along well with your staff.



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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