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.


Have They Ever Volunteered?

Volunteering?

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

If your applicant has done volunteer work, it can tell us quite a bit about them. So, if it’s not on their résumé, it’s worth checking into.

What can volunteer work reveal about a candidate?

First a fast disclaimer: this is not going to be the case for every one who has volunteered, but for the vast majority of volunteers, I believe it can tell you the following:

  • They have a very human side to them.
  • They are not “all about the money.”
  • Compassion means something to them.
  • They will tend to be more of a team player.
  • They likely get along very well with others. If their “people skills” are weak, they likely consider it important to improve them.

If volunteer work isn’t indicated on the résumé, feel free to ask.

Dig a little and find out:

  • How much volunteering they’ve done?
  • How long were the projects?
  • Did they actively seek volunteer work?
  • What did volunteering do for them?

Again, I realize one can’t generalize about all volunteers, but there are certain human qualities that one can safely attribute to those who contribute in this way.

If you’re down to two candidates that are close to equal in many ways and one has considerable volunteer work in their background, that’d be a very strong factor for me.



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.


10 More Interview Questions

Hiring Interview

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

In a couple of earlier tips, I provided 10 questions you could ask in the interview. It’s been awhile since those two tips, so here are another 10 you could use.

  1. What are you most proud of?
  2. What is the most important thing you learned in school?
  3. What is the most important thing you learned outside of school?
  4. Where do you want to be 10 years from today?
  5. If you discovered the company you work for is doing something illegal, what would you do?
  6. Who are your heroes?
  7. Which do you prefer: to be a leader or to be led by someone giving good, positive direction?
  8. What is the last book you read? (and when?)
  9. What do you do in your spare time?
  10. What would you do if you won the lottery?

I particularly like that last question and I want you to know right here and now that I fully intend to keep writing these hiring tips after I win the big one.



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.


Going With Your Gut Instinct?

Definition of Instinct

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

Two earlier Hiring Tips discussed making a hiring decision primarily on your gut instinct. Here are the links to those tips:

The Hiring Pie

Hire Slow, Fire Fast

Let’s expand some on the “gut instinct hire.”

For some of us, we have candidates that just click with us. No need to spend too much time verifying the résumé and the interview can be quick and to the point. Why? Because our gut tells us this is a great hire. The future looks bright.

Maybe you put this candidate through a battery of employee tests, maybe you didn’t.

I recall a client — let’s call him Harry as that was his name — and Harry was in love with a candidate for a key position in his company. However the Aptitude Test score for this candidate was abysmal. The score indicated the person would have serious difficulties following instructions.

Harry called to discuss this with me and, after I went over the pros and cons with him, he got off the phone and I wasn’t sure which way he was going to go.

A couple of days later, another set of tests came in from Harry’s company. These tests, especially the Aptitude Test, were in much better shape. Harry calls and tells me he’s even more in love with this candidate. I go over the results with him and he’s happy as a clam (I just googled where that expression came from and apparently a clam can give the appearance of smiling. Who knew?)

Anyway, I ask Harry, “if you were not using our testing service, you would’ve pulled the trigger on the previous candidate, wouldn’t you have?”

Yes, I realize that was a shameless plug!

Harry says, “I sure would have. But it’s more interesting than that, Stan. I ran into that person’s previous employer and all he would talk about was his problems with following directions.”

So, if Harry had gone with his gut, he likely would have had some real problems with this employee.

Let’s say your gut tells you to hire Jane. Your gut is screaming out at you to hire her.

Well, go ahead. Hire her. But make it conditional. Set up a “probational” time period of 30 or 60 days or whatever time period works for both of you. Make that very clear to Jane and ensure you have a contract that spells that out for both parties.

I wrote an earlier tip on conditional hires that you can look over.

The main thing here is hiring on your gut instinct can be a great success for you. It could also be an expensive failure. A conditional hire will give you considerable flexibility while you hone your gut instincts.



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.


Is Your Hiring Interview a One Way Street?

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

Our purpose in the hiring interview is to find out as much as we can from our applicant. And we normally do this by asking various questions about their experience and hard skills and ideally we take some time to inquire about their soft skills.*

Normally this information is acquired through a “one way line of questioning.”

Let’s broaden this out a bit. Find out what the applicant wants to know about you.

Now a good number of interviewers will do this but the point of this hiring tip is to see just how far you can go with this approach.

Instead of asking Alice, “What would you like to ask me about working here?” you might handle this a bit more directly:

“Alice, I’m sure you have a list of questions about our company. Let’s get started with those.”

You really do want Alice to ask away. The more questions she asks you, the more insight you’ll gain.

If Alice is not prepared to ask you anything, you could nudge her along with:

“Well, I imagine you’d like to ask me about the company culture and what it’s like to work with the staff here.”

Then just sit there silent and await her response.

If you’ve mentioned pay but not in great detail, you could ask, “Did you want to ask about overtime or any off hour requirements we may have?”

Again, just ask and await an answer.

In Alice’s defense, her lack of curiosity may simply be that she is accustomed to the interview being a one way street. But she should want to know if the company is a good fit for her. She’ll find out some of that from your questioning but she’ll find out considerably more if she’s pro-active in the interview.

And the flip side of that is Alice may indeed have a shopping list of questions to ask. Let her ask away.

The more back and forth you have, the more you’ll learn.

* soft skills: personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.



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.


Ask Him To “Make the Rounds”

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

By now, you know our motto:

“The more you know about someone before you hire them, the better your hiring decision will be.”

With that in mind, here’s a tip that may gain you a good bit of information in a fairly short period of time.

At some point in the hiring interview, look at your applicant and say, “Okay, Alex, the next thing I’d like to do is have you meet our staff. Feel free to walk around and say hi to everyone. Ask them what they do, if you like, or even ask if they like working here. I’ll let you head off and do that and I’ll meet you back here in a half an hour.”

Word that in any way that you like with the idea that you want Alex to meet all (or quite a few at least) of your staff and have a brief conversation with them.

You’re likely to get considerable feedback here. Your staff will let you know how comfortable he was, how communicative he was, if he asked any interesting questions, etc.

Ideally you’d set this up with your staff ahead of time. If they know that you’ll be sending new applicants around every so often, they’ll be ready and likely most willing to participate.

You could also have a short form printed off for your staff to report back to you their observations. Or you could have them send you a fast email after they’ve seen Alex.

You should gain some valuable insights from Alex directly when he returns to the interview. Feel free to ask very specific questions here:

“What did you think of our staff?”

“Did you find anyone particularly interesting?”

“Did Robert in accounting give you a hard time? He loves harassing prospective employees.”

Alex may come back from this tour of your staff with a big smile on his face and he may come back looking quite glum. Or anywhere in between.

This short tour may give you some keen insights into your applicant that you might not get in any other way.



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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