How to Hire Personable and Competent Employees
Posted February 4, 2008on:
What do employers look for in most new hires – that’s right – experience. Employers seek experience that matches their necessities for the job vacancy. Likewise, it is equally as important to hire an interviewer who has demonstrated, long-term experience in accurately identifying and selecting quality people. This experience can be garnered from any company or organization, but it must provide the interviewer with the ability to unmask facades in interviewees. This experience must also have prepared the interviewer to read between the lines on resumes or letters of interest. This individual must be able to relax the interviewee sufficiently, in what is clearly an adversarial situation, so as to reveal the genuine personality and motivations of the interviewee. Remember, an interviewer is perceived by the interviewee as the barrier between him or her and the targeted job.
Truly professional and perceptive interviewers are able to create situations and out-basket tasks in such a way as to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of the interviewee. For example, every manager has confronted and solved problems that have resulted in favorable and unfavorable outcomes. Ideally, we seek management personnel who are capable of gathering information about a problem in order to solve it in the fastest, most economical, and least politically disruptive manner possible. Therefore, why not open up those old files of problems resolved successfully, and apply them as out-basket exercises that can be used to analyze the problem-solving and critical thinking ability of the potential employee. These tasks, of course, must be performed over a specified period of time that will replicate the stress of the actual problem situation.
The potential employee should be placed in a situation where phones are ringing while current employees are entering and leaving the room, so as to again, imitate reality as much as possible. And the final touch is to keep hiring personnel far away while allowing a hidden camera to observe this individual. Under these conditions, the real personality and the problem-solving ability of the interviewee can be revealed.
Avoiding or Limiting the Job Scope of New Hires
Once upon a time, I was looking for an individual to perform building renovations for me. The construction worker whom I sought for this job was known to work quickly, not complain, and to return promptly to work after his lunch break. How did I know all of these things about this individual? I knew because I had performed the necessary legwork of checking him out with other satisfied customers, and by personally visiting him on a work site in order to see “exactly” how he performed his work.
During my “informal” interview with him over coffee, I asked him all of the standard questions about material, time, cost, and additional manpower. He seemed to be the perfect fit for the renovation project that I had planned. However, while speaking to him, I got up to get another cup of coffee. After walking 3 or 4 paces away from him, I was struck with the desire to turn and to look at him. When I turned and looked behind me, I was never as shocked in my life as I was at that moment due to the “absolute hatred” that was visible in his eyes and face. Almost immediately, his face reverted to a smiling, innocent expression. So what do you think I decided to do with respect to this temporary, contract hire?
I hired him for a limited period of time, and I supervised him closely. Why? Because I hired him for his quality work on a temporary basis. And yes, the project was completed on time, within budget, and correctly. Yet, because of his inexplicably unpleasant facial expression, I would avoid hiring this individual to work for me under un-supervised conditions, or as a regular employee. A seasoned and competent hiring authority sometimes must make a personnel decision solely based on instinct, and this is an example of such a situation.
Besides utilizing a proven, experienced, and competent interviewer to find great people, you must also devise “out-basket” tasks based on real, known, problems and outcomes that can be used to test the job candidate under simulated circumstances. In this way, your potential employee will many times reveal his or her true personality and performance under such conditions.