How Would They Handle An Irate Customer?

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This is a great question for those applying for a position that involves regular contact with customers.

But instead of having your applicant simply answer it, why not see how they would actually handle it.

There’s nothing like a live exercise to find out how skilled someone is, right?

So, let’s set the scene:

“Sarah, you’re going to be the store manager in this live exercise. I’ll be Mary, a very upset customer who has just come over to you demanding her money back. She’s loud and you can see she’s having an effect on the other customers in the store.”

And then do your best to give a realistic display of what this irate customer might say and see how Sarah responds.

I understand each store may have their own refund policy, and if you want to briefly describe yours to Sarah to make this exercise more realistic, that’s not a bad idea.

Observing how Sarah would apply a store policy would be helpful, but the main thing you want to see in action are Sarah’s “people skills.” How does Sarah defuse this irate customer so that the other customers aren’t negatively affected AND so that Sarah feels she’s being genuinely attended to.

You could do several versions of this. I would suggest starting off by making it fairly easy for Sarah and then make tougher each time. Maybe you start crying at the end and see how Sarah deals with that.

Just suggestions, folks. The purpose here is to observe your applicant in action and handling what is likely one of the more difficult situations he or she will encounter.

You might learn more about Sarah in 10-15 minutes of this kind of live exercise than you might in hours long interviews without the live exercise.



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.


Let’s See What You Can Do!

Hiring Show and Tell
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This tip is similar to an earlier one, but I wanted to give it a different spin here.

Let’s give your applicant a very specific assignment and have him carry it out as part of the hiring interview.

A few examples:

Have a customer service candidate review how customers are handled from pre-sale all the way through to fulfillment and follow-up and have the candidate write up how this could be improved.

If someone is applying for the collections position, do a bit of role playing. Have the candidate go down the list and attempt to collect the amounts from you.

Sales is another great position for role playing. Describe a few different selling scenarios and have the candidate take you from start to finish of the sales process.

For some of these, you could even include a time element, say 30 or 60 minutes.

A smiling candidate with a well-rounded résumé is a good start. A candidate who performs right in front of you will take you considerably closer to hiring the right person.



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 Much Homework Are They Willing To Do?

Homework

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Before someone comes in for an interview, let’s see how much “homework” they’re willing to do.

The first thing would be to is ask them to look over your company’s web site.

If your company sells a product, ask the person to come to the interview with some ideas on how to sell the product. Whether you’re hiring for a sales position or not, you simply want to know if they’re willing to dig in a little at your web site and show a bit of creativity.

If your company provides a service, you could ask the applicant to look over your site and suggest a couple of ways the service could be improved.

I heard of an author who was looking for someone to market her book, so she asked applicants to come to the interview with their ideas on how her book could be better marketed.

You could even ask your applicants to look over your company’s web site and make a couple of suggestions on how the web site itself could be improved.

Regardless of the position you need filling, asking your applicants to do a bit of homework is a great way to see them in action and to see how much they care about their first contact with 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.


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.


When All Else Fails…

perplexed business owner

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I read a quote today from Kevin Ryan, the CEO of Double-Click, a successful online company:

“I used to think business was 50 percent having the right people. Now I think it’s 80 percent. The best way to be productive is to have a great team. So I spend more time than most CEOs on human resources.”

Kevin is making a point that many CEOs and business owners overlook in today’s hectic and competitive business word.

Getting THE RIGHT PEOPLE into the key positions in your company may very well accomplish more for your bottom line than any other single action.

Yes, you need to consider marketing, sales, accounting, legal. You need customer service and you need to deliver a good enough product or service so that customers return and ideally refer others to you.

I realize I’m preaching to the choir here. You wouldn’t be reading this tip if you weren’t interested in improving the quality of your hires.

But I do have a purpose in mind here.

How do you really view hiring for your company?

Is it (just) one of those necessary parts of doing business?

Or is it an absolutely vital component to achieving your business goals.

Is it something you give adequate time and attention to?

Or do you have a burning desire to find the right people and you’ll do whatever it takes to locate them?

We’ve all had wins and losses when it comes to hiring. Sometimes those losses accumulate and cause us to be less committed to finding the right people.

We may go through the motions. We may ask all of the right questions in the interview. We may use testing to further determine their capabilities.

In the end, though, when you’ve got the right people, isn’t life in the fast lane SO MUCH easier?

Well, no need to answer that out loud. Of course, you could click here to send me a fast reply on Twitter.

Okay, let’s wrap this up. This tip was written to remind you of what’s at stake when a position needs to be filled.

So, when all else fails, gather up every ounce of resolve you’ve got and get the right person.



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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