Critical Steps in the Hiring Process
No matter who we hire, there are a number of critical steps in the process; all of which should be familiar to you:
- Specifically identify the need and then reduce it to a good start is the free O*NET website.
- Be very clear what skill sets and personality traits would most likely result in performance given the job expectations. For example, if you’re hiring a CFO, you can test them on their GAAP knowledge, QuickBooks knowledge, and assess to see whether they have the detailed knowledge for the position. Not doing so will introduce unnecessary variance into the hiring process. Go to www.shl.com
- Conduct extensive background checks – there is no excuse today to not know who you are interviewing. You should conduct a criminal background check on every hire, credit background checks on those where permitted, past employer checks on everyone, degree checks where necessary, and immigration status. As always, I recommend you outsource these tasks to www.globalhrresearch.com.
- Conduct extensive interviews – this includes prescreening, multiple individual interviews, as well as group interviews.
- Prepare necessary offer letters and contracts.
- Lastly, conduct any drug tests and pre-hire physicals.
The above is excellent Hiring 101. I find that people engage in nonsense for illogical reasons. Not following these steps is nonsense and driven by emotional garbage. Sometimes that garbage is desperation, other times it’s infatuation, and other times it is flat out exhaustion. The best way to fight against these variances is by having your hiring process in writing every step of the way and make sure no manager hires anyone without checking off every box in the process. Then you know you have your hiring act together.
One of my favorite questions to ask in the hiring process is “What is one thing that felt unfair to you in your last job?” Of course, if they tell you “nothing” they are lying. When they do tell you what felt unfair, do as a Six Sigma trainer would do and ask “five whys”. Doing so will put their personality on full display. Things are going to feel unfair to an employee at some point in a relationship, just as things have felt unfair to you at work. What you want to know is how people deal with what feels unfair to them before you hire them. Here are additional questions I would ask if hiring a sales person:
- What’s the most important thing you do every day? How do you know if you’re doing these things well or not?
- Who do you like selling to best?
- Have you only blown a sale where it made no sense to lose that sale?
- Did you ever surprise yourself with a sale where you didn’t expect to get it?
- How do you prepare yourself for a prospect meeting?
- How did you get good at ________________________?
- What’s more important to you: making money or making a difference?
- What do you consider to be your greatest weaknesses? What have you done about them?
- Who is the most successful person you’ve met in your position (ask why they didn’t answer themselves).
- Why should I trust you?
- In a perfect world, where would you like to be in five years from now?
- How would you describe your ability to communicate?
Remember this: The cost of a poor hire can be substantial. For example, one of my agency partners made the wrong hire of a sales manager. Not only did they have reduced sales for two straight years, when they fired him they were hit with a lawsuit that cost them thousands more. Even the poor hire of an account manager will cost you $50,000 or more. The point is this: Take hiring seriously. If you’re not willing to take it seriously on your own, then hire someone who is willing to take it seriously on your behalf. It will be worth your time and expense in the end. Remember to also think like a marketer. When we market, we think about the long-term benefits of having a customer or client. If their lifetime value is $5,000, then we would have no hesitation spending $1,000 to land them as a customer or client. Likewise, if an employee is expected to net you $20,000 over the next five years, question what you’d be willing to spend to get $100,000 in return.