To Go With Your “Gut” Or Not

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Yes, those who have read a bit of Shakespeare will recall his famous line: “To Be or Not To Be.”

And of course, here we’re referring to your “gut instincts” about someone you are interviewing. How much weight do you put on your gut instinct when making a hiring decision?

Our clients put it this way:

“Well, I do make decisions based on my gut instincts and most of the time it works out. I get just the person I’m looking for.

“However, there are times when I go with my gut and it was a fiasco.”

A couple of earlier tips discussed this fascinating phenomenon of making a decision based on your instincts.

My views now are the same as before. I would never discount your ability to make a hiring decision — or really any decision in life — based on your gut feeling or your intuition.

But I’m sure you also want to reduce the number of bad hires that sometimes result from this.

Our entire focus with hiring goes like this:

The more you know about someone BEFORE you hire them the better your hiring decision will be.

We help you do that with these four tools:

1) These Hiring Tips (subscribe to the newsletter)

2) The Hiring Tips podcast

3) The Hiring Tips book

3) Our employee testing service

Now that I’ve gotten that shameless plug out of the way, my advice is to do your best to find out as much as you can about a candidate before you make that hiring decision.

When you do that, you may find your gut instincts coming through for you more and more often.



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 Wait For the Right Person?

the right person

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We all know how important it is to hire the right people.

We try to be thorough.

We go through résumés with a fine tooth comb.

We do background checks.

We talk to previous employers if we can.

We interview people once, twice and even 3-4 different times.

We use employee tests to help us learn more about the candidates.

If you’re not using any employee tests, give this three minute video a watch.

But, in the end, we’ve got to make a decision.

If we’re not certain we’ve got the right person, what do we do?

I’ve spoken with many employers and HR people over the years. They are usually working with two pressures:

  1. The pressure to get someone hired and doing the work that needs to be done.
  2. The pressure to hire the right person so that one or two months later, they’re not going through the whole process again.

So that restates the subject of this hiring tip:

How long do we hold out for the right person?

Let me state the obvious: It depends on the specific circumstances of each hire.

If the position has to be filled yesterday and its lack of being filled is adversely impacting the bottom line, then you may be in the compromise business and willing to hire someone who is “good enough.”

If you feel you have considerably more time to get the right person, then you stay at it longer.

And there are many shades of gray in between these two scenarios.

Some of us entertain concerns like:

  • “I don’t even know if the right person is out there!”
  • “I could be at this forever and not get the person I really want.”
  • “If I hire this guy and he doesn’t pan out, I’m okay on going through this entire process again. And again. And again. I’m going nuts here, I’ve got to fill this position.”

So, do I have any sage advice for you?

Well, I recall a customer who needed a front desk person hired. It was a key position. The position was responsible for handling phone reaches and walk up traffic. If the person holding this position is sharp, he converts those prospects into buyers. It was a relatively small business, so the position had to have someone really good.

This customer was using our testing service and the first two candidates were so-so, both from his point of view and from the point of view of the test results.

After he tested the third candidate, he called to tell me how much he loved this third person. He went on and on about his résumé and his experience. He was gushing. But he also knew the test scores weren’t all that great. One test in particular indicated the candidate had considerable difficulty following instructions.

I wasn’t going to tell him to hire the person or not hire the person, I just wanted to make sure he knew there was quite a red flag with the subject of following instructions.

He went quiet for awhile on the phone and I asked him what he wanted to do. He told me he wasn’t sure and we ended the phone call.

A few days later another set of tests came in. The scores were very good and my customer called to tell me he LOVED this person as well. We talked about it some and he was happy to now have a person who met his needs and also tested out well.

I asked him a bit of a self-serving question. I asked him if he were not using our testing service, would he have pulled the trigger on the third candidate?

He said he most definitely would have. But he went on to say, “Stan, there’s another piece to this. I bumped into the guy’s previous employer and all he would talk about was how much difficulty he had with the guy following instructions.”

So, I realize this story is a nice plug for our testing services, but it also makes a point. He hung in there to get the right person and he succeeded.

Sometimes you need a little help to hire the right person.

Sometimes it takes believing that person IS out there.



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.


Going With Your Gut Instinct?

Definition of Instinct

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Two earlier Hiring Tips discussed making a hiring decision primarily on your gut instinct. Here are the links to those tips:

The Hiring Pie

Hire Slow, Fire Fast

Let’s expand some on the “gut instinct hire.”

For some of us, we have candidates that just click with us. No need to spend too much time verifying the résumé and the interview can be quick and to the point. Why? Because our gut tells us this is a great hire. The future looks bright.

Maybe you put this candidate through a battery of employee tests, maybe you didn’t.

I recall a client — let’s call him Harry as that was his name — and Harry was in love with a candidate for a key position in his company. However the Aptitude Test score for this candidate was abysmal. The score indicated the person would have serious difficulties following instructions.

Harry called to discuss this with me and, after I went over the pros and cons with him, he got off the phone and I wasn’t sure which way he was going to go.

A couple of days later, another set of tests came in from Harry’s company. These tests, especially the Aptitude Test, were in much better shape. Harry calls and tells me he’s even more in love with this candidate. I go over the results with him and he’s happy as a clam (I just googled where that expression came from and apparently a clam can give the appearance of smiling. Who knew?)

Anyway, I ask Harry, “if you were not using our testing service, you would’ve pulled the trigger on the previous candidate, wouldn’t you have?”

Yes, I realize that was a shameless plug!

Harry says, “I sure would have. But it’s more interesting than that, Stan. I ran into that person’s previous employer and all he would talk about was his problems with following directions.”

So, if Harry had gone with his gut, he likely would have had some real problems with this employee.

Let’s say your gut tells you to hire Jane. Your gut is screaming out at you to hire her.

Well, go ahead. Hire her. But make it conditional. Set up a “probational” time period of 30 or 60 days or whatever time period works for both of you. Make that very clear to Jane and ensure you have a contract that spells that out for both parties.

I wrote an earlier tip on conditional hires that you can look over.

The main thing here is hiring on your gut instinct can be a great success for you. It could also be an expensive failure. A conditional hire will give you considerable flexibility while you hone your gut instincts.



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.


Hiring Tips from the Folks at Google #1

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Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, and Jonathan Rosenberg, a former Senior Vice President at Google, teamed up to write “How Google Works.”

In this book are nine sets of “dos” and “don’ts” when making hiring decisions.

Let’s look at the first three “dos” and “don’ts” with a bit of commentary from yours truly:

“Do hire people who are smarter and more knowledgeable than you are.

“Don’t hire people you can’t learn from or be challenged by.”

Now that’s an interesting bit of advice. Would you be afraid of being surrounded by people who are smarter than you?

Would you prefer to have employees you could simply give orders and directions to and have them follow them?

If that’s the case, maybe you take this one slowly but surely and hire one person who will challenge you. You may find that sufficiently invigorating that you’ll hire another and another like that!

Okay, moving on to the next set of  “dos” and “don’ts”:

“Do hire people who will add value to the product and our culture.

“Don’t hire people who won’t contribute well to both.”

How could you know if the person siting in front of you will add value to your product and culture?

Well, one simple way is to ask point blank, “Fred, you know what we do here, how could you add to the product itself and to our culture?”

Another way you could determine this—shameless plug alert—is to use our employee testing service. Our 200 question test will definitely let you know if your candidate is capable of this kind of contribution. And just as, if not more importantly, the test will let you know who will take steps to poison your culture. Yes, they are out there.

Here’s a link to watch our short video that explains our testing service: WhyTesting.com

And the last set of  “dos” and “don’ts”:

“Do hire people who will get things done.

“Don’t hire people who think only about problems.”

Probably the best way to determine this is to hire someone for a short stint with you. A conditional hire for a few days or a couple of weeks should give you an idea if your candidate is oriented towards getting things done or is a problem sponge.

I just made that up—problem sponge—but I bet you’ve had a few of those working for you before.

In the next two Hiring Tips we’ll take up the other  “dos” and “don’ts” from the folks at Google.



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 Hiring Revolving Door

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This is going to be a self-promoting tip, but I believe a valuable one nonetheless.

Many of us are experiencing a revolving door when it comes to hiring new people. We read through the résumés, we conduct what we consider are reasonably thorough interviews and we may even check some references.

Then we hire Sally or Fred.

Sally quits in a few weeks and we have to let Fred go because he’s just not cutting it.

Both Sally and Fred seemed pretty good back when we were reading over their résumés and interviewing them. Now they don’t quite seem like the people we interviewed.

It happens.

For some of us, it happens a lot.

I have written and recorded in podcast form over 100 Hiring Tips. The vast majority of these tips focus on ways you can penetrate the “canned” or practiced responses and the polished résumé.

I spent this much time writing and recording these tips because of our company’s basic premise:

The more you know about someone BEFORE you hire them, the better your hiring decision will be.

So, with that in mind, here comes the self-promotion.

If you are not using our testing service, you really need to. If you were using it in the past and haven’t for your last few hires, by all means use us.

How much does it cost you to hire and train someone only to find yourself doing that a second and a third time for the very same position?

How much does that cost?

You’ve got the cost of the time spent hiring Person A.

You’ve got the cost of the time spent training Person A.

You’ve got the cost of the time spent grooving Person A into your workplace.

And here comes two hidden costs:

The cost of whatever Person A did that adversely affected your customers and prospective customers.

And the cost of whatever Person A did that lowered the production of those around Person A.

There are many costs to hiring someone who is gone in a month or so.

When you really look at the costs involved in not hiring the right people, well, frankly our service is dirt cheap compared to that.

We can and will help you hire better staff.

If you haven’t used our testing service yet, go to WhyTesting.com. There’s a short video there explaining our testing service and a link to take a free test. We want you to see how accurate the test is and, with it being your test, well, you’ll know.

If you have used us in the past, give us a call at 888-600-6095 and we’ll make sure your customized link is dusted off and working.

We want you bringing better and better people on board. We know what that can do for you.



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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