Do you have the right people on your team, and are they sitting in the right seats? Often managers find they have wonderful people working for them. They are dedicated and they work hard. Still, though, they are not getting the results they want from their team. The sad truth is that they may be wonderful, hardworking and dedicated, but they may not be right for the job.
I had a client that was so distraught over his hiring record. He said he always felt he picked the perfect person. His favorite saying was, “They looked so good on paper.” On the interview they seemed so gung ho. He felt hopeless.
Sometimes you meet a person who is really nice, the life of the party, and deep down a really good person, however, you don’t immediately move in together or get married. No matter how fun or well-meaning they are, you have to know you will be good together and work well together to build the life you want. I think this is how Match.com became so successful!
Your work relationships should be regarded in the same way and it starts before the interview process. Selecting the right people to help you build your business or run your department is key to YOUR success. You need to spend time in this process to avoid wasting time later. Here are some tips on how to improve your success rate in selecting the best candidate for your position:
Prepare for the hiring process:
Make sure you understand the Knowledge, Skill and Abilities (KSA’s) the candidate must possess to be successful in the job. Identify the MUST HAVES and the NICE TO HAVES. Write these things down so you can base your questions around them and then rate your candidates after each interview based on these areas. What attributes and values must the candidate embody to add to the overall culture of the organization? Look carefully at the team they will become a part of and understand the behavioral style that will best augment that team.
I’m assuming you have a job description for the position, so first review it and see if it needs to be tweaked a bit. Review the resumes first to see that the candidate meets the qualifications keeping in mind the KSAs. If you are lucky enough to have too many resumes, start narrowing them down by the MUST HAVES and NICE TO HAVES. Then look for any red flags on the resume:
- Overall appearance
- Blanks and omissions
- Gaps in time
- Overlaps in time
- Inconsistencies between education and experience
Create Powerful Questions
This is the most important piece in my opinion. Think about the interview as a time to get to know the person. You really want to see what they are made of. Did they really do the things they have listed on their resume? I’m not saying people lie, but…………. Powerful questions allow you to confirm what is on the resume, so make them count. Ask open ended questions that cannot be answered with a yes or a no. So don’t say, “Are you familiar with……” They know the answer you want is yes, and you really won’t be able to tell if they really have experience with it. Ask them something that will demonstrate knowledge, like, “Can you tell me the biggest issue you have experienced with……..”
Make your choice:
Ask the same questions to each applicant based on the KSAs and MUST HAVES and NICE TO HAVES. Your follow up questions will vary of course, based on their answers. Make yourself a little grid and rate how each candidate did on each base question. Then come up with a total rating. This will help you choose who is statistically best for the job, not who you like best.
On a personal note, this is obviously not fool proof. People have become very skilled at interviewing due to all the resources that are now readily available to them. But I’ll bet if you look back at some of your good and bad hires, you will find, YOU had a lot to do with the mistakes or the successes. I once hired someone for an administrative position. On my MUST HAVES I listed proofreading skills. After I hired this woman I liked very much, I realized proofreading was actually a weakness, not a skill of hers. I wondered what happened. I went back to my grid. Sure enough, I only rated her 3 out of 5 on proofreading based on what she told me. I didn’t follow my own advice! Here are 3 common errors people make when interviewing:
- Leniency Error – You know the candidate or they were referred to you by someone you know. Tendency is to rate him/her higher than deserved.
- Error of Contrast – Some interviewers tend to compare some traits shown by a candidate with their own traits. May be better to choose someone who has more of what you don’t!
- Halo/Horn Effect – Initial impression about the candidate (good or bad) cloud the interview. I immediately connected with the person I mentioned above on a personal level. It made me overlook a very important qualification she did not have.