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.

“Hire Slow, Fire Fast”

Hire Thorough

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You’ve probably heard the classic hiring mantra: “Hire Slow, Fire Fast.”

Let’s look at the pros and cons of this.

Hiring slow makes total sense when you’re taking the time to vet someone fully for an important position. I would almost say the length of time to invest should be in direct proportion to the importance of the position.

If the position has considerable impact on your bottom line, then the more thorough you should be.

That sounds sensible and almost not even worth stating, right?

But some people get a “gut feeling” about someone and regardless of how important the position is, they pull the trigger fairly quickly.

If I had a buck for every business owner that told me how much he regretted hiring someone because he “went with his gut” I’d own a couple of islands in the South Pacific. Well, at least one island.

I don’t have a problem with people getting a very quick sense of how well someone is going to perform. That’s exciting, actually. People have a very high capacity to know things.

But, and especially for important positions, it doesn’t hurt to find out as much as you can about somebody before you hire them. You can complement your ability to know people with good, quality data.

And that requires considerable interviewing, verifying résumés, background checks, testing, and throw in some more interviewing.

What about the not-so important positions? Can you hire fast for those?

Within reason. Again, do you want to bring someone on board who is going to be rough on your other staff or worse, rough on customers?

So, instead of “hire slow,” let’s go with:

“Hire thorough.”

In terms of “fire fast,” well, one thing I’d recommend is to read over what we have on termination and the law.

I’m a big believer in not letting someone overtly or covertly disrupt your scene. The covert character may not be so obvious—well that is what “covert” is, right—but this person is often doing more damage than the one who’s loud and obvious.

Sometimes this person is quite key to your business. Maybe your top salesperson. But I’ve learned something very interesting on this. Often the overall scene improves when you remove this person. Others are willing to pick up the slack, relieved to have a decent workplace again.

Getting rid of someone disrupting your workplace isn’t something you want to keep putting off. Especially if they’re using their talents as leverage against you making a move.

All in all, you want people who want to be there and want to be part of your team.



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

What Do They Read?

Woman Reading

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You’re interviewing a new applicant and you want to find out about their reading preferences.

It could go like this:

“What books have you read in the last year?”

Notice that this question is very different from “what do you like to read?” Asking what books they’ve read in the last year is quite specific and may offer some quick insights into your candidate.

You could also ask:

“Which books do you plan to read in the next few months?

How about:

“What blogs and web sites do you read on a regular basis?”

Again, you’re narrowing in on specific areas of interest.

Additional questions could be:

“Are you taking any online courses? If so, what subjects are being covered?”

“Do you go online to research new areas pertaining to your skills? If so, tell me how you go about that?”

You could ask the very simple and direct question:

“Do you enjoy reading?”

It’s quite possible your applicant just doesn’t like to read. Is that a deal breaker? That would be up to you, but the candidate who enjoys reading and does so to enhance their skills and their enjoyment of life is, in my humble opinion, in better shape than the candidate who just doesn’t enjoy reading at all.



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.