How Fanatical Should You Be About Hiring The Right People?

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

I’ve written over 150 hiring tips and almost all of them offer advice on “how to” hire someone.

This tip will be a bit different. It will focus more on your viewpoint of hiring.

I realize I’ll be preaching to the choir with many of you, but, well, I enjoy a little preaching here and there.

First, let me read a few quotes from a few CEOs.

From Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks,

“We employ 200,000 people. So I can make the case – and I have for years – that the most important discipline at Starbucks is human resources.”

Kevin Ryan, CEO of Double-Click, a Google subsidiary, realized this about hiring:

“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.” 

This next one is from Lee Iaccoca, famous for steering Chrysler Automotive away from bankruptcy and into record profits:

“I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way!”

And last but not least, the late Steve Jobs had this view of the importance of hiring:

“I have participated in the hiring of maybe 5,000-plus people in my life. So I take it very seriously.”

Now I understand these quotes are from CEOs of large companies and a good number of you run much smaller businesses.

But, on any scale, just how important is hiring the right person?

I’m thinking 99 out of a 100 of you will say, “It’s very important.”

But for many of us, it’s also a juggling match.

How much time do we spend trying to find the right person juggled with filling the position that needs filling and hoping for the right person the next time.

I know from speaking to many business owners, that part of that thought process includes:

“Is the right person really out there?”

So a fair (or even a large) amount of compromise occurs.

I understand. It’s not easy. And it can be frustrating to cast a net out there and what comes back is not what you really need and want.

So, what to do?

Well, you’re certainly familiar with the following slogans:

– You’ve got to have the right attitude.

– If you have the right frame of mind, anything’s possible.

– Success comes to those who believe.

And there are many others like those.

Now, I’m not here to give you airy-fairy advice, but I do believe if you have a fairly strong conviction to hire the right person AND that that individual IS out there, you have a much better chance of making that happen.

If your conviction along this line has taken a number of “hits” and you’ve accumulated too many losses on wanting, but not getting the right person, then I have this advice for you:

Change your mind.

That’s the one thing ALL of us are extremely capable of doing.

Change your mind.

In a completely new and fresh unit of time, put the correct emphasis on hiring the right person and develop a clean viewpoint that this person IS out there and IS eager to be a part of your team.

As my Jewish mom used to say — when offering chicken soup as the cure for just about anything — “Well, it couldn’t hurt.”

…and, when it comes to hiring, it just might help.

So, feel free to change your mind and determine the right people are out there 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.


How Would They Handle An Irate Customer?

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

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
Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

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

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

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

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.


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