Published By Faith Stewart at September 30, 2018
Good help really is hard to find. You find someone with an awesome greatest hits track, but when it comes time for the concert, it turns out they are really only a one hit wonder. Worse yet, they lied altogether and never even cut an album.
The things you should do to hire the right employee will help you in ways you might not realize at first.
Sometimes you find out they are a find, but they don’t sing your genre? Maybe they are country and you’re rock n roll. The two just don’t mix, even if they are at the top of all the country charts.
How do you find out all these things ahead of time? Can you interview and research someone thoroughly enough to truly find the best and weed out the rest?
It’s tricky, and even the most tried and true hacks don’t work perfectly every time. There is a lot of value in due diligence however. If you do it right, you have a much better shot at getting someone that jumps in the groove quickly rather than doing a belly flop off the high dive.
It can be helpful to review what exactly it is you want in an employee however. While there are characteristics needed that will be individual to each job, some general characteristics that all employees share include:
They know how to do the job. Not only that, but they know the industry. This is where both education and experience come into play.
The truth is, you are never going to find someone who knows everything, and sometimes you are going to find a great candidate that doesn’t have all the knowledge they should. If they are trainable, that is fine!
You can teach a specific job, but you cannot teach how to be a strong worker. Even someone that can walk in a do the job right away MUST be trainable. Jobs requirements change, and if they cannot learn new responsibilities, there is going to be an issue.
Webster’s defines grit as “firmness of mind or spirit: unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.” That sounds a little dramatic, but when it comes to employees, it comes off like this.
Employee A has a headache and decides to go home and lay down. But Employee B has a headache and takes some pain reliever, all the while continuing to be productive at work.
Employee A receives some harsh comments from the boss about a project he worked on. When the next project rolls around Employee A is still miffed and doesn’t try nearly as hard. The attitude is they can’t please the boss anyway so why try.
Employee B receives similar notes but has a totally different outlook. When the next project comes around this employee remembers each comment and determines not to make the same mistakes.
Employee B has grit, while Employee A does not. You cannot teach grit.
This is not the same as knowledge. Knowing how to do something is not the same as being able to do it.
Can they go with the flow or does change put a serious dent in their productivity?
You want someone that will stick around, not a one hit wonder.
How do you find someone with these qualities? There are never any guarantees. Some people just know how to tell you what you want to know. If you want a shot at finding the right employee however, you should definitely be doing these things.
It matters where you look for employees. You wouldn’t look for a mate at a veterinarian’s office if you are not an animal lover. For the same reasons, you shouldn’t look for an accountant on a pole dancing job board.
There are a lot of all-purpose job boards out there, but definitely utilize the specialty boards if it makes sense. Another great place to look is right in your own company.
If you have someone that you already know is a great worker that you can use in the open spot, move them. This is especially useful if the other position would be easier to hire for.
I know. You’re thinking that is something that doesn’t need to be said. Here’s the thing. Some people ask for references and then get so carried away with the candidate they don’t actually check them.
Others run a background check but never really look at it. You should be using both.
Do your own research as well. Take a gander at their social media. Professionally, LinkedIn is the place to start. However, mostly it will tell you the same as a resume.
Hit up Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the real telling information. Are they blasting their boss or their company? That’s not a good sign.
This can relate to various situations. The main purpose is to try to not make decisions based on things that really will not affect job performance. For example, if you are not a fan of tattoos or piercings, but the person you are interviewing has several, think it through.
If they will be working with the public often, it might be something to consider. If, however, they will be at a desk in an office and are well suited for the job, maybe you want to let it slide. Professional appearance is important, but there are boundaries.
Just be certain you are considering all things.
Social media is another good example. Try not to make decisions hastily based on non-work-related social media activity. Maybe they are not complaining about work, but you see something you do not agree with lifestyle wise or politically.
Think hard about whether or not it will really affect their ability to do the job.
In a different sense, remember that a lot of indirect experience can be very helpful. Some job-related duties are worth teaching if the employee is well suited in every other way.
This will help you keep your thoughts in order. It is also very helpful when you are choosing between your top candidates. It can be a simple check off list of the various qualities you are looking for.
Another idea is to keep a scorecard of sorts. List what you are looking for in a candidate and assign each quality a point value. Then, assign points to the candidate based on which qualities they meet on the checklist.
When it comes time to decide, or move on to the next round of interviews, you will have quantitative information to use for comparison between candidates.
If you choose that route though, be cautious. Remember you get to make the final decision. You are not a slave to the numbers. They are only a tool to help you.
Interview questions are a tricky thing. Some of them seem to make no sense but tell the employer a lot of what they need to know. Some make perfect sense but don’t really give you any usable information.
The right interview questions for a specific job will vary, but they should tell you two things:
Asking them what they can contribute, why they think they are the best fit, and what they enjoyed most about their old job is great, but you really need more. One popular question is “Tell me about a problem you solved at a previous job and how you did it.”
A better way to ask that is to give them a real-life example of an issue at the job they are applying for and ask them what they would do in that situation. If you are sending interview questions ahead that is even better. If not, their on the spot answer may help you anyway.
Remember, there are certain things you cannot ask about. Stay away from the topics of religion, marriage, kids, sexual orientation, and politics. That’s not an exhaustive list either. Do a little research to be sure you stay out of trouble in this department.
To hire the right employee for the job is pointless if you are not willing to do your part as the employer to help them to do their best at the job they have to do. Regardless of experience and education, no one can start a new job and do well without proper training and support.
The level of training and support will vary, but every new employee needs both to some degree. They need to know who to go to with questions, where to go, when to go, and how to do the job.
Be sure you are providing even those employees that have done the exact same job with another employer for several years the basics of training and support. Not doing so is bound to cause frustration.
It may seem obvious, but frustration and productivity are not friends. Be thorough.
Like I said, there are no guarantees. Sometimes things just do not work out. If you have a plan and know what you are looking for however, you can use these tips to increase your chances of hiring the right employee the first time.
Tell your company’s story about when you used your professional business know-how and experience to hire the right employee.