As you know, we value the importance of training remarkably, and consistently. We, as professionals, need to be adaptable in the workplace. Staying consistent with our proven strategies, while always adapting, as the world around us is doing daily. One aspect of training that we need to take the time to regularly evaluate, and modify if needed, is who exactly we are working so hard to train. Do we have the right people in the right spot?
Taking the time to check in on performance, and consistently providing feedback, helps us to understand where our team members stand in comparison to our expectations. Have you ever wondered why you are having a hard time with conveying a message to a team member, or why they don’t grasp a concept that is at the core of your companies values? This is when you need to take a step back and look at who you hired… You may need to evaluate your hiring process, because that initial step is crucial to creating a team that understands who your company is, who it plans to become, and what role they are putting their “best effort” forth to perform.
In order to hire the right people there are five focus areas that I have found to be the most important components to the hiring process…
1)Posting an accurate and descriptive, yet intriguing job description. This first step will eliminate candidates who don’t have the adequate experience you truly expect, and it is your chance to reach the audience you are looking for, by sharing the values within your company. Take the time to think about what it is that you are looking for in an ideal candidate for the open position, and list off both qualities and competencies that individual would have. Then ensure you are highlighting the aspects of your company, which the kind of people you’re looking for, will want in a work environment. Time spent on creating this combination in a job posting can make a large impact. Don’t hesitate to put in the effort here.
2)Screening applicants. This means you HAVE to call the references they have given you! If you are not calling references, you are missing out on an opportunity to evaluate the tone of voice of the person vetting the potential candidate. (This can tell you a lot!) There also is an opportunity here to find a candidate who has been an outstanding asset to another employer, which you may have otherwise not known. Many people are surprisingly impressive at convincing employers, and maybe even themselves, that they are the right person for the job… However, sometimes an individuals natural tendencies will come out in the workplace, and are not consistent to the behaviors you desire in your company. Screening is an one additional step to obtaining top quality talent, so don’t skip this step.
3)Initial interaction with candidate. This initial interaction is imperative to understanding who will be taking the special place as a member on your team. REMEMBER, your gut is usually right here! And always sleep on it. You don’t want to take too long to respond to a candidate you are interested in, however it is always best to give your brain a chance to process all the things you may not have contemplated in the one hour spent with the candidate. What should you be looking for here? When they are answering questions, and you think it is an acceptable answer, but not the best answer, keep in mind that this is them putting forth their best effort for you. If you don’t like something they said or did in the interview, ask yourself if you are ready to take on those same characteristics every day. Typically employees will become more comfortable during their first few weeks, where you begin to see their more natural tendencies. These natural tendencies may not make them a good fit for your team.
4)Test their competence and values. You have the opportunity to pick and choose a quality candidate for your team. Don’t miss the chance to test their skills! A field interview is a fantastic way to do this. Get the candidate out into the field they will be working in. How do they adapt? Can they show you their knowledge when discussing details of the job, in a more in depth way than the initial interaction? For more specialized industries, you could even pay the individual to complete a task or small project for you. If you are happy with the outcome, you know you have a great addition to your team, and they know from day one that you are expecting what your job description detailed. For any size business, you can test the candidates values, and see if they are aligned with your businesses values. If you work with people, see how they interact with people. Lay out some expectations for what you are looking for and let the candidate showcase themselves. If you work in a fast pace environment, watch their body language during a field interview. See if they will be a good fit in your culture of calm, collective, customer service first attitudes. Just make sure you have a way to test their competence and values before making your final decision.
5)Expectations. If you think you will be bringing this person on board, it is imperative that you provide them with expectations for their role. Many employers don’t want to “scare away” the candidate. There is nothing scary about having a clear understanding of what your role is and how it will be completed, as well as, who you will be working with and how to interact with them. In fact this does the opposite. It puts the candidate at ease in knowing exactly what they should be doing, and allows them to begin planning how they will produce the results you desire. Expectations provide clarity, trust, understanding, and motivation to succeed.
As you take on the task of hiring new team members, make sure you think about the five focus areas mentioned in this month’s article. Training is important, and hiring the right people to do the job should be given sufficient time and effort, in order to alleviate unnecessary challenges in the future, and make the training for that individual and the leader that much better!
Until next time…