Employees are your company’s greatest asset. That is a phrase I use all the time when speaking to managers. One of the biggest concerns I get from managers involves hiring the wrong employee for the job. I believe that most people will make a great employee…. As long as they are hired for the right company. I can get the buy the best cashmere sweater, but if it’s not my size, it won’t fit.
In Sit Stay Succeed! one of my paws of leadership is to hire the right fit. You wouldn’t bring home a St Bernard if you live in a small studio apartment because he wouldn’t fit. The same is true for hiring an employee for a sales position who doesn’t engage with customers. Try this the next time you have a job opening: come up with a list of about 20 different traits you would like to have in the new employee who’ll take the job. Consider the work environment and performance expectations. What skills and traits does an employee need to possess to excel at the job? Be specific.
After the list is complete, go back and put a letter “T” next to the ones in which you are able and willing to train. Of the remaining traits, circle the ones that are non-negotiable, must-have traits. From the ones circled, put a star next to your top five. Now you know what you are looking for in an interview.
When you conduct the interview, make sure you ask questions that will determine if the candidate has the skills. If you are hiring for experience, your questions should be what did you do in a specific situation rather than what would you do. If customer service or sales is a big part of the job, make sure your conversation brings out the qualities needed for those skills. If someone is working with the public, he or she needs to have a friendly personality. If the job is over the phone, conduct some of the interview either over the phone or sitting back-to-back. If the job involves sales, make sure the candidate is engaging
You can always train a new employee to perform a task (if you are willing), but hiring an employee who doesn’t possess the same values as you or your organization will be problematic in the long run. After aligning your values and attitudes, focus on the individual’s skills and abilities. Competencies to look for include reading comprehension, math skills, computer skills, decision making, flexibility, and interpersonal skills. Consider which skills are essential, which tasks are performed occasionally, and which are not necessary for the job.
Determine how much experience and education are needed to fill the position and address specific needs. Some jobs can allow for a training period, while others require the employee to hit the ground running almost from Day 1. Even the employee with the best credentials will need a period of time to get adjusted to your organization’s specific culture.
Some people were made to be accountants, some to be salespeople, and others to work with their hands. Putting people in a position which is not the right fit for their skills, abilities, and personalities is sure to create coaching needs in the future.