Goals, Goals, Goals — How Important Are They?

Employee Goals

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We all have goals.

We set goals for the next five minutes, for the next couple of hours, for the next few days and so on.

When I walk into my local Barnes and Nobles’ book store, my goal is to peruse through a couple of books I haven’t read yet while I savor a mocha Frappuccino.

When I start a new week of work, one goal I’m definitely pursuing is to produce more than I did the previous week.

To varying degrees, I think we all have these short term goals. They may not always be clear in our minds, but goals kind of move us along from one episode in life to the next.

Many of us have longer term goals. What do we want to be doing in one year? In five years? In twenty years?

Or we may express this as something we want to have. What do we want to have in a year’s time? In 5 or 20 years time? A really nice house. An expensive car. A family with wonderful kids.

Some of us set very long term goals that span a lifetime. Along this line are:

• I’d like to be remembered as someone who…

• I want my legacy to be…

So, short term goals, long term goals and all kinds of goals in between.

If it is important for you to know what your applicant’s goals are, here are a few questions you could ask:

“Mary, what are your goals for this interview?”

“Mary, if hired, what would be your goals for your first thirty days here?”

“From a work perspective, where do you see yourself in five years?”

“How long do you see yourself working with us?”

“Are you looking for a long term position with us, and, if so, how do you envision that working out?”

I’m sure you can come up with other questions.

You may find the person in front of you says he doesn’t have any goals other than to get hired, do a good job for someone, get paid and keep his options open for the future. Fair enough. And good to know.

Or the person may say she absolutely loves what you do, has had a burning desire to work for a company like yours and would love to make a career of it.

And of course everything in between.

Asking your applicant to discuss their goals with you is a legitimate way to find out more about them and whether they’ll be a good fit for your company.

But you may also find out their goals are not well established…now…but after six months working with you, they may become well established.

So, for me, it’s somewhat of a toss up. It’s good to delve into this area, but don’t make it a deal breaker.



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.


What About the Diamond In the Rough?

Diamond in the rough?

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Ed comes in to interview for an important position and you can’t believe it. He looks and acts like he doesn’t care whatsoever if he gets the job or not.

He’s wearing a T-Shirt and frayed jeans, his hair isn’t combed and you’re not sure, but you think that’s ketchup on his chin.

His greasy hand slides right out of the handshake and just when you’re wondering when he last had a shower, the first thing out of his mouth is “Whassup?”

You can probably guess where we’re going with this tip. Your first and overriding impulse is to thank him for coming in and then show him the door.

But what if…just what if this guy is a diamond in the rough? What if Ed is a fabulous producer, gets along great with others and could be a huge asset for you?

Yes, I realize that’s a pretty big “what if” — but, every blue moon someone like Ed might very well show up. Their poor appearance and lackluster attitude give you little to no reason to want to hire them.

But what if…

What if you have an inkling that the person in front of you — despite all appearances to the contrary — may be a great hire. What if you get this “sixth sense” about him?

If you get this inkling about someone you normally wouldn’t hire 99 out of 100 times, I have a suggestion for you. Look this person in the eyes and say:

“You know, Ed. I’m kind of put off by your entire presentation here. Your appearance and behavior communicate to me that getting this job isn’t important to you. So, let me ask you: with this many strikes against you, why should I hire you?”

And sit back and give Ed a shot at convincing you he’s your guy.

If his pitch is compelling, ask him to explain his appearance and behavior, providing, of course, he shares your awareness that both were seriously lacking.

All in all, if a candidate shows up disheveled and uninspired, it’s likely he won’t care too much when he’s ‘on the job.’

But that diamond in the rough may be out there and he may end up sitting across from you. If that happens and you want to be sure you’re not discarding a potential asset, then ask very direct questions along the lines of the above and you may be able to ferret out who Ed really is.



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 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.


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