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Monday, March 13, 2017

Hiring The Right Person The First Time -

With the improving economy has come a tightening in the job market. Good employees are becoming harder to find. While no one can guarantee that you will always make a sound hiring decision, here are several tips to improve the odds that you will find and hire the best person available for your open position.


Most employers assume that the way to find a new employee is to place an ad in the local paper or on a recruiting web site. However, your best source of new hires are often your existing employees.  They know the business, know your management style, and most important, have a stake in your success.  Using your present staff to help you recruit new employees ensures that by the time you see an applicant, the person will have already been "pre-screened".  Your employee will make sure that the referral is a good one and that the can­didate works out if you later hire this person. 

Another excellent, but often overlooked, source of quality candidates is the State Employment Service.  This agency (the specific name varies by state) will provide testing and pre-employment inter­viewing services for employers.  Best of all, the services are free; they are paid for by your payroll tax payments.  Agency staffers are usually trained in effective interviewing techniques and, due to long experience, know what good workers look like.  You can find the address and telephone number of your local State Employment Service office on-line or in the blue pages of your telephone directory.


Sound interviewing requires a well defined outline of the position and a workable interview action plan.  Before beginning the interview process, identify the six or seven critical performance factors (CPF) of the position.  These are the skills, capabilities, traits, and characteristics that are required for success on this job.  Make certain that these are vital for job performance and non-discriminatory.  For each of these CPFs, ask yourself this question:  "If the person I hire did not have this skill (or trait, charac­teris­tic, etc.), could he or she still do the job?"  If the answer is "no", then you have a valid CPF.  On the other hand, if the answer is "yes", then what you are looking for is not vital to success and may cause you to discriminate against certain candidates.

During the interview, ask behaviorally based ques­tions designed to see if the candidate really does meet the CPFs.  Do not settle for vague and gen­eral answers to your interview questions.  When a candidate gives a vague answer, ask for examples or other solid demon­strations that what the cand­idate is telling you is really true.  Ask the candidate to discuss what he/she has really done in the past instead of asking future oriented, "what would you do if..." type of questions.  Most impor­tant of all, LISTEN to what the person is saying and also to what the candidate is not saying in respo­nse to your questions.

The best interviewers have an action plan to follow and then stick to it throughout the interview.  While you may like to "wing it", remember that you have an objective in mind and only a limited amount of time in which to determine if this person is the right one.  An action plan will enable you to discuss the topics you want (as opposed to the ones the can­didate wants discussed), keep control of the inter­view, and ensure that you have the information you need to make your decision.


Once you have identified your top candidates but before you make any offer, check references!  Many a manager has been "burned" by a well groomed and smooth candidate who, upon investigation, lacks the qualifications claimed.  Checking references is the only reliable way to determine if the person really has done all of the things he or she says, in the only place where it counts --- on the job.

While it is becoming harder to get good reference information, due to valid employer concerns regarding liability for releasing information on former employ­ees, persistence can pay off.  First, ask each candidate to sign a release allowing you to obtain reference infor­mation. Your lawyer can provide the correct wording.  Obtain three or four job related references, including addresses and day time telephone numbers, from every candidate you are seriously considering. Inform candidates that you will be checking references and that you are most interested in discussing how the candidate actually performed on the job. If you must make an employment offer prior to getting the reference informa­tion, make the offer contingent on a satis­factory reference check.  Then, follow through and check those references!


These tips should help you improve the quality of your hires.  While they may take time and certainly require self discipline, remember that your business is only as good as the people you hire.  An invest­ment of time and effort now will reduce your costs and increase your profits for many years to come.

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