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!

The Problems and Solutions Interview

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Let’s say you’re hiring someone for the Office Manager position. What are some of the routine problems for this position?

Gather together a list of at least three of these and then ask your applicant how she would solve them.

For example:

“Sally, as Office Manager, you encounter an employee who has recently been leaving a bit early and getting in a bit late. How would you handle this?”

With Sally’s answer, probe a bit further on this.

Would Sally pass on this information to the company owner? How vigorously would Sally follow up to ensure this employee is adhering to the company schedule? You could even ask Sally if there are certain employees—let’s say, the top producers—who would have the freedom not to abide by the company schedule.

Moving on to another subject:

“Sally, if the owner of the company asked you to do something that is perhaps a bit unethical, what would be your response to that?”

Again, ask Sally additional questions to acquire a deeper insight into her thinking.

As a last example:

“Sally, you’ve been working here for a year or so and you discover the company is in serious trouble. What do you believe your approach would be in this situation? Would you be tweaking your résumé and looking for other job opportunities, or would you be intent on helping the company pull out of it?”

This last question presents an interesting challenge as Sally might simply give you the answer you’re looking for. Pay close attention to Sally’s mannerisms as she answers this as they will likely present you with clues to what she really believes.

There are of course many questions you could ask, and I recommend you have a list of them prepared for each position at your company.

Then, when a position comes open, you can grab your list and wade right in.

Information in this post and on this site should not be construed as legal advice.

Interviewing Millenials

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While I don’t agree with everything in the above graphic, it does give some ideas about the different “generations” we find in the workplace. I’m not big on labels, but most of us acknowledge that these different generations do have certain attributes.

I recently read an article by Lindsay Pollack in which she discusses five things employers wished Millennials had learned in college. I found it interesting and am including an excerpt here of one of those five things:

“Street Smarts”

…While employers believe it’s rude to wear ear buds in the office, Millennials are using them to focus and be more productive. While employers are horrified when a Millennial sends an email of ideas directly to the CEO, that same Millennial grew up in a world in which everyone on the planet — including the President of the United States — is accessible through social media.

If you are reading this as an employer, I suggest you make the “unspoken” rules of your workplace more accessible. For example, host professional etiquette training sessions or provide Millennials with mentors who can give them insider knowledge and answer their questions about “the way things are done around here.”

This can be helpful to you as a hiring tip.

If you’ve found working with Millennials challenging, what were the reasons for this? Was it something about their attitude toward a dress code? The methods they use to communicate? Do you feel they aren’t as loyal to you and your company as they could be? I realize these could be considered leading questions, but if there were challenges, consider listing them out and discussing them in the hiring interview.

You might be surprised with the responses you are given. Some applicants may demonstrate a resistance to fit into your work environment; others may have no difficulties doing so. Either way, it could be a fruitful topic to discuss.

Information in this post and on this site should not be construed as legal advice.

Hiring the Salesperson, Part Six

Car Salesperson

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In the previous Hiring the Salesperson tips, we covered preparation, motivation, prospecting, sales technique and closing.

In this tip, let’s discuss the salesperson who has sold something very different from what you’re selling.

Your candidate, Frank, has been selling cars for several years now and he’s gotten quite good at it. Does this mean Frank can sell other products besides cars?

Let’s find out.

“Frank, in speaking with your previous employer, it seems you’ve been quite successful at selling cars. As you know, the product we provide here is printed materials. Business cards, stationery, printed newsletters…that type of thing. Do you feel you’ll be able to switch gears and sell our products?”

“Of course,” Frank responds. “Selling is selling. If you can sell one thing, you can sell anything.”

“Well, actually Frank, that’s not what we’ve discovered here. In the last few years, a good number of salespeople have worked for us. Some of them have found it very difficult to sell our products. For one reason, a sale of our printed products does not produce as high of a commission as the sale of a car does.

“In other words, a great deal of printing has to be sold to make the same kind of commission one would get from selling just one car. Our salespeople will have to spend considerable time staying in touch with prospective clients. A lot of follow-up work is needed. It’s a very different operating basis than selling cars.

“What are your thoughts on this, Frank?”

And of course let Frank give you his answer.

“You’ll likely need to learn a completely different selling approach and technique here, Frank. Are you willing to do so?”

Watch Frank closely when he answers these questions.

If Frank winces a bit, then it’s possible he may be resistant to learning a new sales technique and he may also be resistant to having to work longer and harder to secure a sale.

His answers may say one thing, but his demeanor may tell you something different.

One of the key skills to the hiring interview is the ability to “read” your candidate. Is he telling you what you want to hear or is his ever-so-slight frown telling you he’s not so sure.

And maybe it’s not a frown, but a very perceptible pause when answering your question. As if he is considering his response instead of just giving it.

The salesperson who truly has no concerns about selling anything will have no problems with learning a new sales approach. He will not flinch if more work is needed to accomplish a sale.

Granted, your prospective salesperson might need to do “some math” to determine if he’ll make an adequate commission selling your products.

But the math is one thing. His attitude and belief in himself as a salesperson is quite another.

Keep a close eye on his responses and it will serve you well in making your decision.

Information in this post and on this site should not be construed as legal advice.

“Never Miss a Good Chance to Shut Up!”

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“Never miss a good chance to shut up” is attributed to Will Rogers. Quoting from what looks like the official Will Rogers web site:

“Will Rogers was an Oklahoma Indian, a cowboy, an entertainer, a movie and Broadway star, a writer, a speaker, a comedian, a philosopher, and a world figure.”

He was born in 1879 and life at that time was likely a bit more “in-your-face,” but I believe the quote can also be applied to those giving hiring interviews.

How many times have you found yourself going on and on about your company and its purpose? Have you ever spent too much time talking about people who held the position previously who just didn’t pan out?

Yes, you want to make known what your company does and yes, you want to be clear about the importance of the position being offered.

But the hiring interview is an opportunity to find out about your prospect. The more time spent listening to your prospect, the more likely you’ll come out of the interview knowing whether to hire her or not.

You ask your candidate how she would handle a particular duty and before the person has finished telling you, you cut her off so you can tell her what you think is the best way to deal with it.

Your prospect is telling you about her previous training for the position and before she finishes, you jump in and say, “you do realize you’ll need to do some new training for our company, right?”

Sometimes you have to apply a bit of discipline to yourself during the hiring interview. And that discipline is simply not missing the chance to simply shut up!

Well, maybe I’d word it:

“Never miss a chance to be a better listener.” – Tweet this

And if you do become a better listener, you’ll find yourself making better hiring decisions.

Information in this post and on this site should not be construed as legal advice.

You’re Not Hiring The Résumé!

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Of course this is something you know, but how often do we see a fabulous résumé and then omit doing a thorough interview as we believe we’ve got the right person?

Or worse, we conduct a hiring interview with the intention of ensuring this person gets hired. In other words, not just omitting to ask enough probing questions, we overlook a little something here and perhaps a not-so-little something there.

Again, the résumé is everything we want it to be. Even more. The person has more experience than anyone we’ve worked with at the position; the level of training is greater than required; fabulous recommendations; the list goes on and on.

So, I repeat:

You’re Not Hiring The Résumé!

Honestly, how often have we found ourselves captivated by a superb résumé, and then we find ourselves taking whatever steps necessary that end up in…

Hiring THAT résumé.

We must also determine if the person has the other important attributes. A great résumé with a not-so-great attitude or even a bad attitude will often end up being a problem for you.

Okay, I’ve made the point. I won’t pound it any further. Keep in mind you’re hiring someone in the flesh regardless of what it says on paper.

Information in this post and on this site should not be construed as legal advice.