How Did They Improve the Workplace Around Them?

Staff Helping Out

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This is a simple question and one that can yield excellent information for you.

The answers you get are important, but the speed of the answer can also be revealing.

If you ask Sue, “In your previous jobs, how did you improve the workplace around you?” and it takes her awhile to answer, I see two possibilities:

1) She hasn’t really done this very often, if at all

or

2) She may have accomplished this so often, she just kind of considered it “routine.”

So, you may need to “groove in” the question some.

You: “Sue, in your previous jobs, how did you improve the workplace around you?”

Sue: “Well, let’s see. Hmm. I imagine I’ve done this before.”

You: “Well, your résumé says you handled collections in your last two jobs. What would be an example of improving the workplace from that position?”

Sue: “Oh, I see. Well, in both companies I was able to streamline the collections process with several insurance companies. And I also figured out a payment plan that patients were willing to use, and it resulted in getting them fully paid 2-3 months sooner than before.”

You: “That’s great, Sue. Any others like that?”

After she gives you what she can, you might say, “That’s great, Sue. Any instances of improving the workplace around you in terms of your fellow employees?”

Give Sue a bit of time to look that over and she may very well have some good data for you there.

Of course, if you’ve grooved the question in and Sue just doesn’t have an answer, then that’s what you’ve got.

The ability and willingness to improve life around one and specifically the workplace around one — this, in my humble opinion, is a great quality to look for.



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 Long Do You Wait For the Right Person?

the right person

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We all know how important it is to hire the right people.

We try to be thorough.

We go through résumés with a fine tooth comb.

We do background checks.

We talk to previous employers if we can.

We interview people once, twice and even 3-4 different times.

We use employee tests to help us learn more about the candidates.

If you’re not using any employee tests, give this three minute video a watch.

But, in the end, we’ve got to make a decision.

If we’re not certain we’ve got the right person, what do we do?

I’ve spoken with many employers and HR people over the years. They are usually working with two pressures:

  1. The pressure to get someone hired and doing the work that needs to be done.
  2. The pressure to hire the right person so that one or two months later, they’re not going through the whole process again.

So that restates the subject of this hiring tip:

How long do we hold out for the right person?

Let me state the obvious: It depends on the specific circumstances of each hire.

If the position has to be filled yesterday and its lack of being filled is adversely impacting the bottom line, then you may be in the compromise business and willing to hire someone who is “good enough.”

If you feel you have considerably more time to get the right person, then you stay at it longer.

And there are many shades of gray in between these two scenarios.

Some of us entertain concerns like:

  • “I don’t even know if the right person is out there!”
  • “I could be at this forever and not get the person I really want.”
  • “If I hire this guy and he doesn’t pan out, I’m okay on going through this entire process again. And again. And again. I’m going nuts here, I’ve got to fill this position.”

So, do I have any sage advice for you?

Well, I recall a customer who needed a front desk person hired. It was a key position. The position was responsible for handling phone reaches and walk up traffic. If the person holding this position is sharp, he converts those prospects into buyers. It was a relatively small business, so the position had to have someone really good.

This customer was using our testing service and the first two candidates were so-so, both from his point of view and from the point of view of the test results.

After he tested the third candidate, he called to tell me how much he loved this third person. He went on and on about his résumé and his experience. He was gushing. But he also knew the test scores weren’t all that great. One test in particular indicated the candidate had considerable difficulty following instructions.

I wasn’t going to tell him to hire the person or not hire the person, I just wanted to make sure he knew there was quite a red flag with the subject of following instructions.

He went quiet for awhile on the phone and I asked him what he wanted to do. He told me he wasn’t sure and we ended the phone call.

A few days later another set of tests came in. The scores were very good and my customer called to tell me he LOVED this person as well. We talked about it some and he was happy to now have a person who met his needs and also tested out well.

I asked him a bit of a self-serving question. I asked him if he were not using our testing service, would he have pulled the trigger on the third candidate?

He said he most definitely would have. But he went on to say, “Stan, there’s another piece to this. I bumped into the guy’s previous employer and all he would talk about was how much difficulty he had with the guy following instructions.”

So, I realize this story is a nice plug for our testing services, but it also makes a point. He hung in there to get the right person and he succeeded.

Sometimes you need a little help to hire the right person.

Sometimes it takes believing that person IS out there.



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.


An Extra Set of Eyes and Ears Might Help

Hiring Interview

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

Here’s an idea that you may find very helpful.

Before you start the interview, ask two or three of your staff to come in to ask you a question. After getting the question answered, they could have a little mini-interview of their own with the candidate.

It could go like this:

Employee (after getting his question answered, asks the prospect): “Oh, you’re considering working here?”

Prospect: “Why, yes I am.”

Employee: “What made you decide to apply here?”

Prospect: “Well, I heard from a friend that you’re hiring.”

Employee: “Oh, so you’re just looking for a job then?”

Okay, that’s a bit rough, so let’s at another possible conversation:

Employee: “Oh, you’re looking to work here?”

Prospect: “Yes I am.”

Employee: “Well, I’ve been working here for over ten years and I gotta tell you, it’s been more of a challenge than I ever thought it would be.”

Prospect: “Oh, um, how do you mean?”

Employee: “Well, the boss is very demanding which is good because we do manage to get a lot done, but it’s sometimes just quite a bit to deal with.”

Of course, if you’re the boss conducting the interview, you will have to keep a straight face for this kind of thing, but you get the idea.

You might even step out of the office for a few minutes and then have one of your staff come in and start up a conversation with the candidate.

You may have a couple of staff who look forward to these moments when they can have a very impromptu “interview.” And this kind of thing could get very creative.

If you apply this hiring tip, you may learn a few things that wouldn’t surface normally.



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.


If You Had a Time Machine, What Would You Do With It?

Time Machine

Listen to the Hiring Tip Here

Sounds a bit silly, I know, but a question like this could shed some light on your prospect.

You could frame the question a number of different ways:

“If you had a time machine and could only use it once, would you go to the future or the past? And why?”

“If you had a time machine and could go back in time to change one event, what would that be?”

And here’s one with a bit of an intellectual twist to it: “If you had a time machine and you knew using it would cause unintended effects on others, would you still use it?”

If you’ve been reading our Hiring Tips — and we have over 180 of them — you know I like to provide innovative ways to gain new insights into your prospect.

I’m thinking this is another one of those tips!



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.


Do They Know It All?

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Every so often you run into someone who considers there is nothing new to learn about a subject. And that subject may be the very thing you’re hiring for.

It could be how to sell; how to promote for new customers; how to do collections or really any subject in the workplace. It could even be how to properly stock a shelf. This person just believes he knows all there is to know about a particular subject. Or worse, they feel they know all there is to know on just about every subject.

And yes, we do enjoy working with people who are very certain of their job and their craft. But there’s a key difference between the person who is confident and certain and the person who “knows it all.”

That key difference is the willingness to learn something new.

If your candidate is so sure of himself that he conveys there is nothing new to learn, this is not a positive indicator.

So, how would we find this out in an interview? Well, you could conduct this brief Q&A:

“Frank, what subject in the workplace do you feel very certain about?”

Frank gives you a subject (hopefully).

When you ask this next question, be sure to watch your candidate closely when he gives the answer.

“That sounds great, Frank. So tell me, how eager are you to learn something new about (fill in the subject here)?”

If your candidate answers that he’s very eager to learn new things and his answer is given quickly and without any discomfort, that’s a good sign.

If he hems and haws a bit with his answer, that’s not the very best indicator.

If he tells you outright that he knows all that there is to know about the subject, well that’s a revealing answer as well.

I realize this next statement may date me some, but I recall what Popeye said many times in his animated cartoon show, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am. I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.”

If your guy feels he’s got it all and there’s no room for new ideas, a new perspective, a fresh way to go about things, then keep that in mind when making your hiring decision.

And for those who haven’t a clue who Popeye is, here’s a seven second video for your viewing pleasure:

Well, it’s not every day you see a short Popeye video in a Hiring Tip, but I hope the visual was helpful!



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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