Helpful Hiring Hints

By: Robert E. Cannon

At a recent industry meeting, one of the speakers focused on Human Resource Issues. One area of particular interest to everyone there had to do with Hiring. Virtually everyone in attendance had made a bad hiring decision at one time or another and fully knew the high cost of a bad hire. The speaker advised that it had been his experience that most executives spend too little time preparing for interviews with perspective employees. He went on to say that most executives utilize the same questions for every interview, regardless of the position. He believes that the above practices in part explain the poor hiring results.

In the past, I would have agreed with the speaker, but over the years, I have learned a couple of techniques that have helped me improve my results. Hopefully, you will find these to be as helpful to you as they have been to me.

Hint #1. Prior to contacting the first candidate, perform a 360â—? interview with everyone who will interact with this position. Ask everyone to provide as many responses as possible to the open ended statement, "Our organization needs a person who..." Once you have collected this information place them all on a list and ask each person to pick those 12 responses that are most important for the person who will hold this position. Once you have narrowed the choices to the top 12, you then have a road map for what it will take to be successful in this position.

Hint #2. Take the list from above and preface it with the statement, "I am a person who..." and ask each candidate look at the original list and pick those 12 responses where they feel they are strongest. Even better is to ask the candidate to have several associates check 12 items that best describe them and mail that information directly to you. The closer you can match the candidate to your needs, the greater the likelihood of success.

Hint #3. All too often candidates may know how something should be done, but don't always utilize what they know. Rather than asking hypothetical questions, ask questions where you expect the candidate to give you examples from their experience. The following are some examples for your consideration.

1. Tell us about a time when you were successful as a leader and what that was like.

2. Now tell us about a time when you weren't successful and what you learned from the experience.

3. Give us examples of how you challenge and inspire people to take up a cause. It might be staff, outside services or even at home.

4. Give us examples of how your listening skills and delegation have come into play in your style of leadership.

5. When did you go into a situation with a preconceived notion and came out the other end with a different answer.

6. Cite examples of your leadership role in a crisis.

7. Describe a couple of significant times when you were effective in dealing with conflict.

8. Intersperse questions asking the candidate to give you examples of how they demonstrated their strength in each of the 12 areas of greatest importance as determined by your 360â—? exercise.

Hiring the right candidate for the position is just like any other decision. The better you can define the desired outcome, the easier it will be for you and your team to find the best candidate to help you achieve the desired outcome.

Human Resources
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