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.



Get a copy of our new Hiring Tips book at Amazon.


“What’s The Next Job You Would Like to Have When You Leave Here?”

Unproductive?

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Reid Hoffman, the Founder of LinkedIn, believes the employer/employee relationship starts off with “a dishonest conversation.”

From the employer’s side, Hoffman says, “The biggest lie is that the employment relationship is like family.”

From Hoffman’s perspective, “You don’t fire your kid because of bad grades.” So whether the employer knows it’s not really that close knit a relationship or whether the employer is deluding himself on this, that gets things off on the wrong foot.

Hoffman believes the employee also contributes to this less-than-honest bargain: “They know that employers want loyalty,” Hoffman says. “They know they want to hear, ‘Oh, I plan on working here for the rest of my career.’ But most employees recognize that career progression probably requires eventually moving to another company. But that never comes up.”

From the Amazon web site, here is a portion of the description of Reid Hoffman’s book “The Alliance, Managing Talent in the Networked Age”:

“The employer-employee relationship is broken, and managers face a seemingly impossible dilemma: the old model of guaranteed long-term employment no longer works in a business environment defined by continuous change, but neither does a system in which every employee acts like a free agent.

“The solution? Stop thinking of employees as either family or as free agents. Think of them instead as allies.

“As a manager you want your employees to help transform the company for the future. And your employees want the company to help transform their careers for the long term.”

Hoffman feels LindkenIn embodies this kind of new relationship, so after presenting the above basis for working together, the applicant is often asked:

“What’s the next job you would like to have post-LinkedIn?”

The question is not designed to trick the person. It is asked because LinkedIn feels they are going to have a very positive impact on the person and the person’s career and they are genuinely interested in where they’d like to go next.

Hmm. Interesting indeed.

Here are a few of my thoughts on this.

I’m not sure how many employers are pushing “we’re a family here” but I imagine some are.

I’m thinking some actually do view and treat their staff as close to a family as you can get.

I also see how this could get a work relationship off on the wrong foot if the employer is pushing but doesn’t really believe in the “family” concept, and if the employee is making hollow promises to hang in there and be loyal to the end of time.

And I do like the concept of “ally” when it comes to the employer and employee relationship. Here’s an interesting definition of ally:

Someone who helps and supports you or something that helps you succeed in a difficult situation.

All in all, there’s everything right about people supporting each other especially when it comes to employers and employees and the impact they have on each other’s future.

Conclusion: If you’re able to have this kind of conversation with prospective employees, then asking what job they’d like next becomes a very intriguing question indeed.



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



Get a copy of our new Hiring Tips book at Amazon.


Give Them An Audition!

On air sign

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I discussed this idea in another tip, but I’d like to go into more depth here.

One of the biggest challenges we have in hiring new staff is just not being sure “what we see is what we’re going to get.”

The résumé can tell us a good deal about someone and the interview process can tell us more.

While sometimes the résumé is padded, we do get good data from a résumé.

And the interview does give us a better understanding of the applicant. If you make use of the many hiring tips I’ve provided, your interview will gain you excellent insights into your applicant.

By the way, I’ve taken 65 of my best tips, updated them and published a Hiring Tips Book over at Amazon. I think you’ll appreciate having all of these in one place.

Getting back to this tip, we find out all too often—a month or so down the line—that the person we interviewed is not the same person who is now working for us. Or he quit. Or we needed to let him go.

In other words, the résumé and the interview process did not get the job done for us.

Here’s a very, very strong recommendation:

Have your applicant audition for the job!

Find some task that would demonstrate competence (for the position you’re hiring) and have your applicant perform that task.

How much of a task should this be?

That’s up to you. Maybe something that takes a few hours. Or maybe something that would take a couple of days.

With regards to paying for this task, see our Hiring and the Law Tip: Do I Pay for a “Working Interview”?

The right task is capable of telling you very quickly just how competent the person is.

You could also employ this on a broader basis. If you have ten people applying for the job, you could ask all ten of them to perform a task and send you the results. In this case, the task could be on a smaller scale, but even this approach will give you data that you might never get in an interview.

It can be costly to hire the wrong person. Costly in terms of time and money. Getting an audition from your applicant could save you a ton of both!



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



Get a copy of our new Hiring Tips book at Amazon.


“What If You Win the Lottery?”

Lottery winner!

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Let’s set the table here by indicating the lottery payout is ten million dollars after taxes. One lump sum. Boom. Check paid to the winner and there is only one winner: your applicant!

I read on a business site that this interview question is used to find out if the person would still work if they didn’t need the money.

That it would also tell the interviewer how responsible the person would be in spending the money. Would they spend away or would they invest a good chunk of the winnings?

And perhaps the question is designed to find out how loyal someone would be to your company.

So, if we believe all of the above, the question could find out for you how motivated, hard-working, responsible and loyal someone is.

Right?

Or the applicant might just simply blurt out, “If I win the lottery, I’m out of here!”

I kind of like that answer.

Look, if you’re hiring someone for a long term position, with stock options and an important buyout of your company in the offing that requires a commitment from key staff, then I imagine you’d want someone who’s really going to hang in there with you.

But ten million dollars?

Who is kidding who?

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “If I win the lottery, I won’t change a thing about my life!”

I’d be much happier with the applicant telling me that he’d give notice the moment he verified he had the winning ticket. It’s refreshingly honest.

Well, that’s the tip and I’m sticking to it.



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



Get a copy of our new Hiring Tips book at Amazon.


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.



Get a copy of our new Hiring Tips book at Amazon.


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.



Get a copy of our new Hiring Tips book at Amazon.