If They Can’t Follow Instructions, Get Them A Clipboard


Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

Yes, I realize that’s a pretty strong statement: “If they can’t follow instructions” — but we do encounter people who are weak in this area.

The ability to follow instructions is a key ability to look for when hiring. This ability covers written and verbal instructions. And, for a shameless plug, our Aptitude Test will give you an excellent idea of this ability — one way or the other — prior to making your hiring decision.

But, what if their Aptitude test score is low and you like just about everything else about your applicant? Is a low Aptitude test score a deal breaker?

Perhaps a better question is, how many times have you pulled strands of hair out of your head because someone just couldn’t or wouldn’t follow instructions?

I have a simple recommendation for you: if you want to hire someone who is weak with following instructions, get them a clipboard.

Yes, a clipboard. When you have something you want this person to do and do exactly as you wish, write it down and put it on their clipboard.

If you ask Bob to close up the store at 8PM, change the thermostat to 70 degrees and open the store at 9AM to let Mrs. Jones in to pick up her watch, write these things down for Bob.

If you don’t, and Mrs. Jones is upset that the store opened at 10AM instead of 9, Bob can’t come back to you and say, “well, you said 10AM.” You can reply, “okay, Bob, get your clipboard.” He does and sure enough, it says 9AM on the clipboard.

I realize this is somewhat of a rough way to get things done, but if you like someone for a number of other qualities, this is one way to reduce the fallout from a weak ability to follow instructions.

After awhile, Bob may get familiar enough with his duties that this shortcoming will be less and less of an issue.

There are two other things you can and should do with new staff:

Give them written materials concerning their position and have them study these materials.

Drill them on these materials and their duties and ensure they gain some proficiency. The more drilling, the better.

We all know that the ability to follow instructions is a key ability. If it’s low in someone you want to keep on board, this tip should help.

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 Appreciative Are They?

Appreciative employee

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

First, let’s look at two definitions of “appreciate” that apply to this tip:

To understand how good or useful someone or something is

Used to thank someone in a polite way or to say that you are grateful for something they have done

I’m thinking those two definitions blend in with each other. Someone who is appreciative understands how good or useful someone or something is and they communicate this in some way.

Ideally, you are looking for someone with a deep reservoir of appreciation, an appreciation of other people, the things other people do and even an appreciation for one’s environment.

We do enjoy the employee who sincerely thanks us for improving their work environment in some way.

“Bob, that new phone system you had installed is working really well. Thank you for doing that, Bob!”

“Thank you for creating the room where we can keep our lunch refrigerated and grab a snack during the day. Very helpful, Bob.”

“The Sunday picnic for the staff was off the charts. You really went out of your way to make that a great afternoon. My wife was blown away. Thank you, Bob.”

Now, if that appreciation extends to their fellow employees, that’s an even bigger plus.

Let’s find out if we’ve got that from your candidate.

“Alice, at your last job, tell me three things that you appreciated about the other employees you worked with.”

If Alice is the “appreciative sort” she should be able to tell you three things easily and quickly.

Going a bit further, you could ask, “Alice, how did you let these employees know that you appreciated them?”

When someone voices their appreciation of you and the things you do, you know how that makes you feel.

Well, the same is true of your employees. When someone who is openly appreciative of others, that has a very positive effect on the work place.

I’m not talking about an airy-fairy thing here. I’m not talking about someone who is nice to others because there’s something to be gained from being nice.

We know when we see genuine appreciation.

I rarely plug our employee tests in these tips, but I won’t be able to help myself here. Our personality profile measures ten key personality traits and one of them is appreciation. If you are not using our employee testing service, watch our two minute video and take the free test yourself.

In closing folks, there’s a huge difference between those who appreciate others and those who do not. It’s a fabulous trait to have on board.

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.

To Go With Your “Gut” Or Not

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

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

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

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

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...