Hiring New Staff
Your business is growing and you have decided to hire new staff.
You examined the differences between contractor and employees and decided to hire a new employee. Zip recruiter sent you the resume of Bob Smart. He attended the best schools and graduated with high honors, possess accredited certifications and also speaks fluent Spanish. Bob Smart is a winner, at least on paper.
Everything on paper looks great but do not hire someone solely on their track record.
Past Performance is Not Indicative of Future Results
What does that expression mean? This is an investor sentiment that can translate into hiring.
Just because someone is successful in the past, does not mean that they will be successful within your organization.
I have seen complete disasters through my experience in multi million dollar projects by people thinking that a skill sets used in past projects are transferable and can be expanded based on historical project performance. It is faulty logic from a management prospective.
Don't fall victim to the Peter Principle, where people are promoted to their level of incompetence. The Peter Principle, written by Laurence Peter and Raymond Hull in 1969, is a great read for anyone who needs to regularly hire or fire personnel.
All staff need to be stretched so they can increase performance, but at some point we need to avoid hiring (or promoting) people to positions where they will inevitably fail. We hire better by improving our screening process. After they have passed the qualifying criteria, it is time to screen our applicants better.
How do we screen better? Follow these steps.
- Peel past the applicant’s credentials and learn about the person. Learn about their ambitions and what they want from this position. Is this person only looking to save enough money so they can return back to their home state? Do they really want to become an operations manager, why? Ask probing questions.
- Take a critical look at your current business need and select personalities that would best accomplish that goal. For example, you are in insurance sales. Sales is not a position for wallflowers. You need people with confidence and resilience to rejection.
- Make sure you hire someone that will be able to be proficient within their job by 1-3 years. You want to make sure they can grow into the position, but the position is not so daunting that they will drown. For example, you would not hire a recent college graduate to assume an operations manager position. They need to be able to earn their stripes and show their capabilities.
- Stop asking basic quizzes and start asking concept questions. Basic questions are those that require a number or simple answer. Questions like “What is the average length of a service call?” or “What is 1+1?” are simple questions. It is time to level up and ask questions to see if they are able to think independently. Ask your candidate questions like “Why do you believe a customer would take the time to call our company?” or “Why do we have a call center rather than simply posting FAQs on our website?” or “Why would you use this tool to fix this issue?”
- Ask them about their alternative employment choices. This is not a trick question. Your ideal candidate should already have other options lined up and is not ashamed about that fact. You want to hire an independent, free thinking person that can look out for themselves. Free thinking and resourceful people are what you need to help your organization to succeed. Caveat: screen out opportunist candidates with a history of jumping jobs every couple of years.
Hiring better helps you to maintain office continuity, reduce training costs and service disruptions. Take the time BEFORE you hire so you minimize firing employees.
Got a question or comment? I would love to read it! Please drop me a line in the comment section below.