Can They Prioritize?

Priorities

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I’m sure you know the meaning of prioritize, but I do like providing definitions.

“to put several things, problems, etc. in order of importance, so that you can deal with the most important ones first”

To be able to put things or problems in order of importance, one must know what their relative importances are.

Some employees will do what they are asked to do, what their manual says they should do and that’s that.

And that’s fine.

But that’s a baseline employee.

Bob has three tasks he needs to do. There’s only thirty minutes left in the work day. To do all three tasks is going to take an hour. What does he do?

He prioritizes.

He determines the order of importance of the three tasks and then takes care of them in that order.

What if the most important task will take up the entire thirty minutes and one of the other tasks is only a five minute task, but his supervisor urged him to get it done before he leaves?

What does Bob do?

Well, that’s part of prioritizing. He gets the five minute task done and then he pushes to get the thirty minute task done in twenty-five minutes, or he simply stays over five minutes to complete the task.

I realize this all sounds pretty simple, pretty straightforward. But we also know the ability to prioritize is not a strong suit for everyone.

The employee weak in this area will not do the five minute task and there likely will be some friction when he meets up with his supervisor the next day. Or this employee will do the five minute task, but leave the thirty minute task incomplete. This scenario may also see some friction the next day.

So, how can you determine if the person in front of you is good at prioritizing?

One way is to include this area of questioning when you speak to the applicant’s previous supervisors.

Another way is to compile a list of three, four of five tasks for the job in question and then ask the applicant to weigh them in order of importance.

You could have several of these lists put together.

It should not take a long time for the applicant to go through the tasks and give them an order of importance. If it does take awhile, not a great sign.

And your analysis of his sequence of importances will also be revealing.

An ability to prioritize is worth pursuing. Things will run smoother and be more productive.



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 Generous Is She?

generous employee

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Let’s look at two definitions of the word generous:

“Demonstrating a willingness to give more of oneself than is normally necessary or expected”

“Sympathetic in the way you deal with people; tending to see the good qualities in someone”

Two very interesting definitions.

The generous employee we’re considering here is not the employee who is willing to give away company resources. We’re not talking about Bob, the office manager, grabbing $50 from the cash drawer to help Alice with baby supplies.

We’re talking about a person who is generous with their own resources of time, money and effort.

How can we determine how generous someone is?

You could go about it this way:

“Allen, give me three examples of how you were generous at previous jobs.”

Observe how easily it is for Allen to come up with examples. If he comes up with them very easily, that’s a good sign. If it takes a bit of time, a bit of hemming and hawing, not the greatest sign.

Here’s another interesting approach:

“Allen, give me an instance at an earlier job where you wanted to be generous, but chose not to be.”

If you get a clear instance of this, find out why Allen decided not to be generous.

You’ll likely come up with your own methods of discovering how generous your applicant is.

I recommend doing so.

Generosity is a trait that can increase productivity and improve how smoothly things run.

Look for it when you can.

Encourage and reward it when you see it.



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 Fearless Are They?

Fearless

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Fearless.

That’s an interesting quality.

We’d probably want a soldier to be fearless, or at least as close to fearless as possible.

If an entrepreneur is embarking on a new activity, being fearless has its advantages there, right?

But, for our everyday applicants, is fearless a quality we’re interested in?

Let’s look at a definition of fearless : not afraid of anything. With synonyms of brave, courageous, bold, daring, adventurous.

I do like those synonyms!

If you’re looking for someone to just get the work done — and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that — then fearless isn’t a critical quality.

But if we’re looking for someone to make a breakthrough for us, in the areas of marketing or sales, for instance, then someone bold and daring may be exactly what we’re looking for.

What if we wanted a supervisor or office manager who never backed off from handling a situation in their area? Someone who always rolled up their sleeves, waded in and located what needed to be addressed and got it resolved? What if we wanted that kind of manager?

If so, then “fearless” would be an asset, right?

So how do we locate this quality in people? A simple, direct approach would be:

“Bob, tell me some things that you’re afraid of.”

Most of the time Bob will give you some things that he’s afraid of.

A fearless Bob, however, may say, “well, there really isn’t anything that scares me.”

The key to this answer is: Did Bob deliver it quickly and easily? Did he deliver it without the slightest flinch?

In a number of earlier tips, I’ve mentioned this ability that you want to be continuing to develop:

The ability to observe when your applicant is easily answering a question and there is no “flinch.”

I think you know what I mean by “flinch.” When someone answers a question with complete comfort, you are likely getting a candid answer.

Fearless.

If you’re hiring for a position that requires a bold and daring approach, zeroing in on “fearless” may get you just what you need.



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 Do We Owe You?

Benefits, Incentives, Bonuses, Extras, Perks and Advantages

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I’m going to love this tip and I haven’t even written it yet!

For the most part, we’ve got two sides of the hiring equation, right? We’ve got the employer and we’ve got the person wanting to be employed.

There may be a middle man, e.g. a hiring agency, but at some point in time, you are going to be interviewing someone before you make any kind of long term hiring decision.

Back in the day — let’s say before the 80s or 90s — when you applied for a job, you were essentially told what the job was, what it paid, the hours, some idea of what was expected and, if that worked for you, then you were included for consideration.

Unless you were someone very special, you did not make demands or issue ultimatums to your prospective employer. If and when you did get hired, you were given a place to work, assigned tasks, maybe some training and off you went to carry out your duties.

After getting hired, you did not wait a week or two and then tell your employer that you need X, Y and Z so that you can perform to your full potential. AND that, if you didn’t get X, Y and Z, you might have to shop your talents elsewhere.

Back in the day, that just didn’t happen.

Now I realize I’m painting somewhat of a black and white picture here, but I’m doing it to make a point.

Let’s fast forward to present time.

The scenario I just presented is certainly not occurring wholesale in today’s hiring world, but some parts of this scenario are happening. And we can debate how much the balance of power has shifted in the hiring process and whether that’s good for business or not. But that’s not the purpose of this tip. This tip has a simple focus. We just want to find out from the applicant:

“As an employer, what do we owe you?”

When you ask this question, as we recommend with all questions in the hiring interview, pay close attention to how comfortable the applicant is in answering it. If he’s very comfortable, then it’s likely you’re getting a candid answer. If not, well, possibly not so candid.

Once your applicant has answered the question and you’ve written down what he said, it can’t hurt to ask it again:

“What else do we owe you?”

Now, I’m not recommending that you ask these questions — or any questions for that matter — with even a hint of a confrontational attitude. We just want to know what they feel the company owes them.

Their answers may fit 100% with what you’d like to provide every employee. That’s good to know.

And their answers may surprise or even shock you. That’s also good to know.

Either way, you’re likely to gain an insight into what it will be like having this person as part of your team.



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.


Should We Stop Looking For Team Players?

Steve Jobs

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Jeff Altman, a recruiter for many years, shared this viewpoint in an article:

“Stop looking for team players. When you do, you announce that you don’t want people who can think and want people who are docile and obedient. You’re saying that Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell and a host of others should never apply to your firm.”

What do you think about that?

Do you think we should take “team player” out of the hiring equation?

Let’s look at this a bit.

If you’re looking for someone who will bring brilliant ideas to your company and you don’t care if he roughs up your current staff — then, well, have at it.

I imagine some of the greatest businessmen and women and some of the creative giants were difficult to get along with.

But may I emphasize the word: “some.”

Yes, some of the greatest leaders and creators in our world have been deficient in people skills.

Some.

I would say, however, that most of them have brought exceptional quality to both their creativity and leadership and to their ability to get along with others. We just don’t hear about them as much, do we?

If you get the idea that you can and should hire someone who is brilliant but is somewhat or even very abusive, then you’ve decided to be in a continual state of juggling his worth versus his harm to your company.

Here’s a very simple and direct question:

Is it possible you can find a brilliant individual, someone capable of bringing dramatic, positive change who also possesses that not-so-elusive ability to get along with others?

You can certainly answer that for yourself.

Here’s my answer:

Absolutely.

When you encounter a recommendation to undervalue qualities that you know are essential to your way of doing things, think twice and even a third time before you accept that advice.



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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