Please Feel Sorry For Me and Hire Me

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Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

Many of us have interviewed the person who wanted us to feel sorry for them. They wanted to use this line of sympathy as a reason to be hired.

Here are a few examples:

    • “I have this pretty serious medical condition and I’m not really sure how things are going to turn out.”

 

    • “I used to be very capable and could handle just about anything. But in the last year or so, I feel I’ve lost my drive and my enthusiasm. Gosh, I sure hope I get it back”

 

    • “My dad passed away a few months ago and, well, frankly, I’m still very broken up about it.”

 

    • “At the end of last year, my wife lost her job. Since then, we’ve pretty much been living off credit cards. Which, I’m sure you know, is not a great way to live these days. I gotta tell you, ‘I really, REALLY need this job.'”

 

  • “My wife just had twins. So that makes three kids. We were having a tough time raising just the one, so this is going to be a major challenge for us.”

And there are others where this came from. The common denominator of course is the candidate wants us to feel sorry for them and they believe this will enhance their chances of getting hired.

What do you think about this approach?

On the one hand, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with lending a hand and helping someone out.

But the other side of that coin is the viability of your business. Do you want to hire someone who presents themselves as a victim? I realize the word “victim” can be seen as pretty harsh. Here’s a definition of victim:

someone who suffers because of something bad that happens or because of an illness

The candidate who wants you to hire them because of what they can do for you and your business is essentially the flip side of the candidate who wants you to hire them because of what you can do to help them out.

It’s really up to you on this one. If Sally’s in a tough spot, it’s understandable that you feel that providing her a job will help her out of that tough spot. Along with that, you envision Sally becoming a real asset for you. And because you offered her the job when she was in rough shape, you figure she’s going to be very loyal to you down the road.

That all makes sense.

Just realize Sally may not come out of it. “Being a victim” may be a long term life choice for Sally and that will not spell success for your business.

Either way, it’s important to have clarity on what kind of candidate you have in front of you. Our employee testing service will help you bring that clarity.



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.


Attitude Versus Skills, Revisited!

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An article by Mark Murphy, entitled Hiring for Attitude was a Q&A with Mark on the importance of attitude when considering new candidates.

I found the first question and answer particularly interesting:

Question: “We hear it a lot… company X did a great job hiring a highly skilled worker, only to later discover that the new hire was a terrible fit for the organization. Why do so many interviews fail to assess whether a candidate will be a good fit?”

Answer (from Mark Murphy): “When our research tracked 20,000 new hires, we found that 89% of the time new hires failed, it was for attitudinal reasons, not lack of skill. One of the reasons is that most organizations have no test by which to assess attitude, and many have no concrete idea of what the attitudes they should be hiring for even are. You can train for skills and technical competence; but you can’t train for ‘attitude.’ You have to interview and hire for attitude.”

I’d say that’s pretty powerful research. At least, in terms of the clarity it brings.

Essentially 9 out of 10 of those 20,000 new hires failed as a result of attitude, with the remainder failing due to lack of skill of some kind.

This research doesn’t surprise me. I’ve written hiring tips before on this subject.

What does this mean for your company?

Well, if you’ve been in business for awhile, you’ve likely established a “culture” in your workplace. There’s a certain way you and your staff go about doing things. I imagine there’s a certain tone or atmosphere that you promote. If this culture works for you, then hiring people who “fit” into that culture is a worthy objective.

To some degree you can test your candidates for this. Our personality test will provide you with definite clues as to how people act and interact in the workplace. Proper testing can help you weed out bad apples.

But, in the final analysis, I’m going to say your perceptions are accurate. If the person sitting across from you doesn’t appear to have the attitudes you’re looking for, or if you feel this person will not really fit into your culture, then so be it.

Don’t invalidate your perceptions.

Too often we see something we don’t like about a candidate and then we brush it off. We tell ourselves there’s so many other things we do like, we don’t let that one nagging thing get in the way.

And yes, we do need to carefully weigh the positives and the negatives of every candidate.

When it comes to attitude, though, let’s start giving it the weight it deserves.



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 Mistakes Cost Our Company $100 Million”

This is not your usual Hiring Tip, but I figured you might like to hear Tony Hsieh, of Zappos.com fame, comment on hiring mistakes his company made, especially when he feels the mistakes cost the company that large a sum!

I don’t know that I would agree with his “hire slow, fire fast” approach, but he certainly has considerable street smarts. More on Tony here.



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.


Which Is More Important…
The Right Attitude or the Right Skills?

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You’re down to two candidates you really like. One has just the right skills for the job and the other lacks the skills but has a great attitude?

Which one should you hire?

Well, ideally, you want a nice blend of skills and attitude, but if you really are down to these two choices, I’d recommend hiring the person with the great attitude.

Why?

You can always train and apprentice people to have the skills needed to get the job done, but you can’t “train” attitude.

Obviously, if your job opening is a computer programmer requiring a highly technical skill set, then those skills need to be present on Day One.

But let’s say you need someone to handle the front desk. Many companies hire the wrong person for this position. The front desk or receptionist needs to be the friendliest person in town. Even the slightest bad attitude on this position can cut right at your bottom line. I’ll address this position in greater depth in a future Hiring Tip, as it really is a key position in every company.

Many of us have worked with an employee who had a bad attitude and who poisoned the workplace, to the point of even sending customers away. And we held onto this person because they were “really qualified” for the position.

And we often find out AFTER we let the bad apple go how much damage was being done.

Lesson learned: You can’t put a bad apple in a basket with perfectly good apples and expect the good apples to remain “untouched.”

All in all, you want that combination of great attitude and great skills, but if the skills can be fairly quickly acquired, then always go for the great attitude.



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 Kind of Manager Are You?

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You’re in a hiring interview with an applicant and you say:

“Well, Mary, we want our staff to be independent thinkers, people able to evaluate and make decisions on their own. We’re not looking for people who need to consult their supervisor every few hours before they go ahead with something. Do you have this kind of approach?”

Mary says she does and then a few weeks later you find you’re constantly looking over Mary’s shoulder to see what she’s up to.

What kind of manager are you?

If you’re the type of manager who not only wants to work with independent thinkers but you’ll also grant them the space and responsibility to DO SO, then of course that works just fine.

But if your style of supervision includes considerable side-checking of employee actions, then pushing for an “independent thinker” in the hiring interview is probably not the way to go.

The flip side of this is the employee who needs a good deal of feedback and reassurance from his supervisor. If the supervisor in this case is not big on communicating that often with employees, this is not going to work very well either.

So, the question is:

What kind of manager are you?

Don’t kid yourself here. Just have a clear idea of your skills and what kind of supervisory actions you’re willing to take with your staff. With that idea clearly in mind, it is much easier to tell your applicants what is needed and wanted.



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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