Dear M & M: How can I be sure I am hiring the right people? – Tom
Usually, it all starts with advertising for the position with some sort of a job description. The first step would be to make sure you have defined what you want. A comprehensive list of what you want them to be able to do and how you expect them to go about doing it would be a great start. The following should be included (Identification of the corporate values that should be demonstrated, a list of the job responsibilities, a description of the experience, knowledge, skills and abilities required and expected is a must).
Tell them what you are willing to pay, hours expected to work, general information about the job (expected to work evening, weekends, etc.). Remember you are going to get what you asked for. The next step is having them fill out some sort of company or job application and they are asked to fill out and submit a cover letter and a resume with references. A cover letter and a resume are good indicators of the person’s character, background and goals. Study what people are saying about themselves. Do they skip around from job to job a lot? Did they do anything special in the jobs they held or did they just show up?
How enthusiastic are they in wanting this opportunity? Make sure you call their references and that the people listed as a reference have something good to say about them. The next step would be a phone interview, web or video conference interview or a face-to-face meeting. Did they arrive on time, prepared, dress appropriately and seemed like someone you wouldn’t mind working with? We sometimes say hire for the personality we can teach they what they need to know. I’d have to say it depends. Sometimes you might need a special skill set.
I don’t think anyone would want a brain surgeon operating on us if they didn’t know what they were doing. While they are preforming the operation I am knocked out anyway. I once had a TV/VCR technician we placed in a room and let him do his thing. He never interacted with customers. When he fixed any electronic equipment it was fixed. Some other things we all know about but rarely factor in include the following. Certain personality traits are good at certain skills. Some people are good at starting things, some are good at drawing logical conclusions based on facts others are very good working with groups or other people. What do you need?
Why would we hire a salesperson that could not accept rejection? I want a self-starting person willing to take some risks. Another thing we talk about but rarely implement is working with diverse groups. How diverse is your organization? Do you need someone different from what you already have to add diversity to your own workforce? Everyone is hired for a probationary period. If they are not working out do not be afraid to let them go. Remember the people you hire are only as good or bad as you let them be.