Goals, Goals, Goals — How Important Are They?

Employee Goals

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We all have goals.

We set goals for the next five minutes, for the next couple of hours, for the next few days and so on.

When I walk into my local Barnes and Nobles’ book store, my goal is to peruse through a couple of books I haven’t read yet while I savor a mocha Frappuccino.

When I start a new week of work, one goal I’m definitely pursuing is to produce more than I did the previous week.

To varying degrees, I think we all have these short term goals. They may not always be clear in our minds, but goals kind of move us along from one episode in life to the next.

Many of us have longer term goals. What do we want to be doing in one year? In five years? In twenty years?

Or we may express this as something we want to have. What do we want to have in a year’s time? In 5 or 20 years time? A really nice house. An expensive car. A family with wonderful kids.

Some of us set very long term goals that span a lifetime. Along this line are:

• I’d like to be remembered as someone who…

• I want my legacy to be…

So, short term goals, long term goals and all kinds of goals in between.

If it is important for you to know what your applicant’s goals are, here are a few questions you could ask:

“Mary, what are your goals for this interview?”

“Mary, if hired, what would be your goals for your first thirty days here?”

“From a work perspective, where do you see yourself in five years?”

“How long do you see yourself working with us?”

“Are you looking for a long term position with us, and, if so, how do you envision that working out?”

I’m sure you can come up with other questions.

You may find the person in front of you says he doesn’t have any goals other than to get hired, do a good job for someone, get paid and keep his options open for the future. Fair enough. And good to know.

Or the person may say she absolutely loves what you do, has had a burning desire to work for a company like yours and would love to make a career of it.

And of course everything in between.

Asking your applicant to discuss their goals with you is a legitimate way to find out more about them and whether they’ll be a good fit for your company.

But you may also find out their goals are not well established…now…but after six months working with you, they may become well established.

So, for me, it’s somewhat of a toss up. It’s good to delve into this area, but don’t make it a deal breaker.

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 People I Need Just Aren’t Out There!

Frustrated HR

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Is that how you feel?

Do you feel the type of person you are looking for JUST isn’t out there?

And by “type” of person, this means: doesn’t have the necessary technical skills; doesn’t have the right attitude or their résumé and interview didn’t make the grade.

Let’s look a bit more at these three categories:

They do not have the necessary technical skills

Okay, that’s more than fair. You need a trained auto mechanic or dental technician or software programmer and no one is applying for the job who has the skills you need. Or those applying are weak in your needed skill set.

They do not have the right attitude

We’ve covered this in a number of tips. For most of us, the applicant needs to have the right attitude.

If he comes in wearing torn jeans and a tee shirt, wants to know when he’ll be getting his first raise and insists he can’t work past 2PM — well, you may not be eager to hire this person.

Also included in having the right attitude is actually showing up for the hiring interview AFTER committing to do so.

We’ve all heard the hiring maxim: “you can train for skills; you can’t train for attitude.”

Yes, attitude is important.

Their résumé and interview didn’t make the grade

Well, no need to comment in depth here. You know what I mean.

So, what’s the point of this hiring tip?

Well, some of us — and I fear a growing number — have concluded the right person just isn’t out there.

Some of us haven’t gone completely into apathy on this point, but we are moving in that direction.

We’ve been through so many interviews that didn’t reveal a decent prospect.

We’ve experienced so many disappointments during the hiring process AND afterwards when the person we hired just didn’t work out. In some cases, the person we hired turned out to be vastly different than the person we originally interviewed.

So what to do?

I have three words for you.

Three simple words that may sound like I’m patronizing you, but I assure you I am not:

Change your mind.

If you get yourself in a place where you’ve concluded the right person just isn’t out there, or if you’re moving closer and closer to that mindset, this is a dangerous place for you.

If you make the hiring decisions for your company or if you have input on who gets hired and you are starting to believe the right people aren’t out there…

Change your mind.

This is not mysticism, folks. This is not an airy-fairy proposition that I’m making here.

If you feel that the right people aren’t going to come in and apply for key positions at your company, you are going to help fulfill that “prophecy.”

People like to be right. They also tend to see and “bend” life in various ways in order to be right.

So, if the hiring process has worn you down to where you don’t feel the right person skill-wise, attitude-wise or otherwise is out there for you, you will help that belief along. In ways that you can see and in ways you may not see, you will confirm the “fact” that the right person isn’t out there.

You may have someone come in that shows a flaw or two in his presentation, and yet could be a real gem. BUT, if you believe that the right person isn’t out there, you may not “see” this person fully. You may miss an opportunity.

I realize people need to be skilled for certain positions. And people need to come in and present themselves well and bring the right attitude with them.

I understand and agree with you there.

But if…

If you find yourself getting to a place where you do not feel the right person is out there or if you find yourself believing it’s just so much harder these days to find the right person…

Change your mind.

Do not lock yourself into that belief.

And do not let events be the determining factor to change your mind. In other words, don’t wait for that incredible person to show up before you change your mind about the kind of people that are out there.

YOU change your mind.

YOU decide the right person is out there.

You could even decide there are a ton of right people out there.

If you think my advice here is too impractical or idealistic when it comes to hiring the right people, I understand.

But I also know it’s great advice.

Remember, people like to be right and will “bend” life in various ways to be right. Well, decide the right people ARE out there and you’ll find yourself bending life a little here and a little there … and the right people will show up.

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 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.

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