What About the Diamond In the Rough?

Diamond in the rough?

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Ed comes in to interview for an important position and you can’t believe it. He looks and acts like he doesn’t care whatsoever if he gets the job or not.

He’s wearing a T-Shirt and frayed jeans, his hair isn’t combed and you’re not sure, but you think that’s ketchup on his chin.

His greasy hand slides right out of the handshake and just when you’re wondering when he last had a shower, the first thing out of his mouth is “Whassup?”

You can probably guess where we’re going with this tip. Your first and overriding impulse is to thank him for coming in and then show him the door.

But what if…just what if this guy is a diamond in the rough? What if Ed is a fabulous producer, gets along great with others and could be a huge asset for you?

Yes, I realize that’s a pretty big “what if” — but, every blue moon someone like Ed might very well show up. Their poor appearance and lackluster attitude give you little to no reason to want to hire them.

But what if…

What if you have an inkling that the person in front of you — despite all appearances to the contrary — may be a great hire. What if you get this “sixth sense” about him?

If you get this inkling about someone you normally wouldn’t hire 99 out of 100 times, I have a suggestion for you. Look this person in the eyes and say:

“You know, Ed. I’m kind of put off by your entire presentation here. Your appearance and behavior communicate to me that getting this job isn’t important to you. So, let me ask you: with this many strikes against you, why should I hire you?”

And sit back and give Ed a shot at convincing you he’s your guy.

If his pitch is compelling, ask him to explain his appearance and behavior, providing, of course, he shares your awareness that both were seriously lacking.

All in all, if a candidate shows up disheveled and uninspired, it’s likely he won’t care too much when he’s ‘on the job.’

But that diamond in the rough may be out there and he may end up sitting across from you. If that happens and you want to be sure you’re not discarding a potential asset, then ask very direct questions along the lines of the above and you may be able to ferret out who Ed really is.



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 Second Interview

Hiring interview

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You’ve looked over his résumé, you’ve done a short phone interview and you’ve conducted your first serious hiring interview with him.

You like what you see so far and you want to bring him back for a second interview. It’s an important position and you want this to be a smart hire.

An interesting scenario may present itself in this second interview.

Both of you are likely to be more comfortable with each other and your applicant may “let his guard down.”

He may feel his chances of getting the job are greatly improved and may come in willing to be more informal, more open with you. He may even dress more casually for the second interview.

With the nervous jitters from the first interview gone, or at least significantly reduced, your applicant may answer your second interview questions more candidly.

A few examples:

“How do you see yourself fitting in here?”

“What would it take for you to be very happy working here?”

“Do you see yourself working here in one year? Five years?”

“Is this job a stepping stone for another job that you envision down the road?”

And of course there are quite a few other questions, many that are covered in previous tips, that can be asked in this second interview.

You may even re-ask a question or two that the first interview addressed, but you felt the answers were a bit rehearsed. The environment of the second interview may give you a new insight to those questions.

All in all, the second interview (and successive ones) can be VERY helpful. In some cases, the person in front of you is a different person than the one you met in the first interview. They are more comfortable, more “themselves” and more capable of helping you make the right decision.

I’d like to give a “hat tip” to David Jensen, whose book The Naked Interview was helpful in putting this tip together.



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

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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.


Can You “Hear” Them Smile?

Phone Interview

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Before you sit down and interview an applicant in person, you (or one of your staff) speak to them over the phone, right?

What are you trying to determine at this point?

Besides a short interview which could end in an invitation to come and interview, there are some things you can discover by phone.

First and foremost, you are hoping they sound professional, right?

If music is blaring in the background, does he turn it down so the two of you can have a decent conversation?

And you’d like for them to be a bit prepared for your call. If they don’t recall what company you’re from even though you announced it at the beginning of the call, not a great sign.

How is your prospect’s manners? Does she let you complete your communication fully, or does she interrupt?

Is it a nice, smooth conversation from start to finish?

And last but not least, can you “hear” them smile?

I’m not making a mystical point here, folks. You know what I mean. Is the person bringing a bit of life to the conversation? And do YOU have a smile on your face at the end?

Pay attention to some of the above details in a phone conversation and your phone interviews will lead you to better prospects for the in-person interview.



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 Do They Treat Other People?

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How will your prospective employee treat your customers and other staff?

Will they be friendly, helpful and appreciative?

Or will they be tactless, dispassionate and cynical?

And how can you tell ahead of time?

Well, one can test for personality traits. Our 200 question test will get you past the usual social responses and give you unexpected insights into your prospect’s personality.

So of course I recommend using our test.

But what else can you do?

You could take your applicant around the office or store and introduce him to a few of the staff. Let your staff know ahead of time that you might be doing this and ask them to take a minute or two and “engage” — ask a few questions, maybe even be a bit disarming.

One example might be an employee looking startled that the person is interested in a job there and asking, “Are you sure you want to work here? The boss is a decent chap, but the pay and perks aren’t so great.” Maybe this gets said within earshot of the boss, or maybe not.

A disarming question or two may reveal something about your applicant that you might not otherwise see.

While you’re walking around, observe how your applicant deals with each person they come into contact with, not just your staff. If you use the elevator, does he hold the door open for others; does he acknowledge the existence of the doorman; the receptionist?

Maybe you go out for a coffee — how does he treat the barista?

Whatever interaction you can observe, take it all in and evaluate.

And remember our motto:

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



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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