How Long Do You Plan On Sticking Around?

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That’s an interesting question to ask an applicant and a simple wording would be:

“Sarah, if we hired you, how long do you plan on sticking around?”

Sarah’s answer should deliver an insight into her potential longevity with you.

If her answer doesn’t give you a good sense of commitment, that’s worth knowing ahead of time.

But that also begs the question, being asked more and more these days:

How long should a new employee commit to the company?

One could answer that question philosophically, or one could simply find out directly from the applicant.

And the interesting flip side to the question “how long do you plan on sticking around” is:

“Sarah, under what circumstances would you leave?”

Again, a fairly direct question.

If Sarah’s answer touches on things that were done “to her” at her previous jobs, that’s not the height of responsibility.

But she may also mention not feeling “sufficiently challenged” or she may be candid and project another job offer that she couldn’t turn down.

When you ask these two questions:

How long do you plan on sticking around?

and

Under what circumstances would you leave?

You could cut through some of the potentially canned (or prepared) responses and gain some good insights into your applicant.



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 Really Bright Guy Who Ruins Your Company

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Well, it happens.

The candidate has all the skills. He’s top of his class. He aces all of the competency tests.

He can run circles around your best technician, your best salesperson, your most skilled programmer.

He’s just downright brilliant.

Except for one thing.

He’s a complete jerk.

You’ve managed to find out from several of his previous employers that he was rough on management and even rougher on his fellow employees. They wouldn’t come out and quite tell you this, but you sensed they hated the guy.

Now, I realize that may be a stretch, because many employers won’t necessarily give those kinds of reports on previous employees. But some will.

And maybe you checked around a bit, spoke to employees who worked with him and found out he was indeed the brightest star in the galaxy, but he was hell to be around.

And you’re thinking, “Hmm, maybe it’ll be different here.”

Or: “I’m a strong leader, I can manage this guy. His skills are so off the charts, we need him!”

Look, I’m not going to discount anybody’s ability to manage. I’ve seen really bad apples in the sports world go from Team A to Team B and the coach at Team B AND the other players on Team B were able to bring this bad apple around.

It happens.

But what happens more often is the bad apple, no matter how competent, goes from Team A to Team B to Team C and infects each and every one of those teams.

So, as always, it’s up to you. But if you’ve got a loaded gun to my head and you want my most honest advice here, hiring someone who refuses to get along with others is a huge risk. No matter how capable he is.

He may bring all kinds of great skills to your company while shredding the willingness of those around him. You may not be happy with the net effect.



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.


How Well Do They Collaborate?

Revised workload

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I was listening to a podcast earlier today about different business strategies and the subject of collaboration came up. After working with quite a few companies, the speaker concluded this was a weak link for many of them.

He felt that perhaps some of this was due to the original formation of the word itself.

“Collaborate” had as one of its earlier or perhaps earliest meanings: “to cooperate with the enemy.” I recall from various stories and movies about World War 2, a collaborator was someone who helped the Germans in various countries they had invaded.

Well, I’m not so sure this earlier definition would be a reason that people in today’s workplace might have a difficult time working with others.

But the ability to work with others IS an important quality to look for when hiring.

A business can grow nicely or be severely held back solely on the amount of cooperation that occurs amongst its individuals and groups.

Does the marketing department work well with the sales department and vice versa? Or do they give each other lip service and just go about doing things the way they want to. Or worse, are they at odds because each department “knows best”?

But let’s concentrate here on one person’s ability to collaborate: your applicant.

How well can she work with others?

Does she work well with others because management wants her to, or because she herself believes it’s the best way to get things done?

Let’s find out.

“Alice, tell me about a couple of projects you’ve done at previous companies that required a considerable amount of collaboration on your part.”

Or, “Frank, tell me about a time when you observed something was not going to get done on time or was not going to get done very well unless you personally cooperated with the others involved at a much higher level than you are used to.”

Of course, you’ll want to listen for what Alice and Frank did that showed they were actually working WITH other people.

But you want to be listening for something more. You want to see if Alice or Frank felt they were making things succeed because of their personal involvement OR if they really understood the value of working WITH other people as the compelling force at work.

And maybe even one more thing to keep your radar tuned for: did they enjoy the collaboration?

If your applicant feels collaboration is a valuable means of getting things done and if they genuinely enjoy doing so, well, I’d say you’ve got a keen insight into a potential employee.

Would you agree?



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.


Contribution Goes Both Ways

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A good number of us are searching for that new employee who will come on board and contribute at a very high level.

We envision this person quickly grasping the duties of the position and working hard and smart. We see this person getting along super well with other employees, being extra productive and, in just about every way, being an ideal employee.

Is there anything wrong with this picture?

Of course not. There’s everything right in wanting that phenomenal employee who not only produces like mad, but helps others around them produce more than usual.

I’ll mention two components here that will help you attract and keep such an employee.

1) Advertise to prospective employees that you’re looking for people who want to contribute at a very high level AND who expect that same contribution coming back to them.

2) Deliver on your end of it.

I’m going to assume you’re willing to carry out number 2 here.

So what are some ways you can do that?

The obvious one is to pay someone what they’re worth. If they produce like gangbusters for you, and their contribution has a tangible effect on your bottom line, then exchange accordingly.

But there are other ways to contribute back to real producers.

The first and most overlooked one is:

Acknowledging them for what they do.

When they produce well, let them know you appreciate it.

“Bob, you did a fabulous job with that client.”

“Mary, you really handle the daylights out of the reception area. It makes a real difference around here.”

“Frank, I really appreciate you putting in the extra time to get that project done. You’re a real life saver!”

A little acknowledgement goes a long way. Just remember the last few times somebody genuinely validated you for a job well done.

There are other ways to show your appreciation. Perks of various kinds. The key point of this tip is:

The best way to attract and keep top producers is to convince them you know that contribution goes both ways and then keep your end of it.



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.


Did Curiosity Really Kill the Cat?

Curious Cat!

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Most of us are familiar with the proverb: “curiosity killed the cat” which serves as a warning against doing too much investigation or experimentation.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t curious about things.

When I was five years old, I wondered what those two small holes were in the wall. I was not aware of any of the properties of an electrical socket. So I went to the kitchen, got a small knife and stuck the knife into one of the holes. I wanted to see what would happen, if anything.

Well, something definitely happened.

Sparks flew out and completely singed my eyebrows. Add some black marks to my forehead and I was quite a sight.

When my dad got home and saw me, he asked me what happened. Before I could answer, my brother rushed in and demanded to know how I was going to be punished. My dad said, “he’s already been punished” and walked out of the room.

Yes, yes, I learned not to put a knife into an electrical socket.

What does this all mean from a hiring perspective?

From where I stand, being curious about things is an excellent quality.

Curious people find better and faster ways to get things done. They ask customers questions that reveal important facts that can help you improve service. Curious salespeople, in my humble opinion, close more sales.

Curious people want to learn more about what goes on around them. Let’s hope that quality never dies in any of us.

How can you tell how curious someone is?

The curious person will ask you about your end of things. Now, there are the usual questions applicants ask but if you find someone asking very specific questions and trying to get a better sense of how your company does business, then I see that as a plus.

There’s a response to the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” that we don’t often hear, but I’ll mention it here:

Satisfaction brought him back.



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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