You have all been in the situation (perhaps for the first time) of needing to hire someone. The hiring process challenges the emotions; the anxious moments of preparation, the elation of filling the position and, at times, the disappointment when it doesn’t work out.
One of my very first hires was for a sales associate position in Seattle, Washington. Jerry was an extremely nice man with recent sales experience, but most of his working years had been spent driving for United Parcel Service. After two weeks in the field, he came to me and said he’d seen all of his accounts, but was discouraged with their limited response. The position, he explained, was not right for him.
In two weeks, Jerry suggested he had visited in excess of two hundred accounts, and had come to his conclusion. I have often wondered if he double parked and left the engine running when he “called on” each store! While it was easy to be disappointed and critical of Jerry’s performance, it was not so much his fault for having failed as it was my fault for hiring the wrong person.
All individuals have a desire to succeed! No one intentionally fails, so it is your responsibility to hire the person with the capability to reach the success envisioned for them. There are any number of highly qualified individuals. You just have to believe that the right person will make him or herself known to you!
Patience is, perhaps, the most critical factor in a successful outcome. Realistically, you cannot plan to hire someone by the end of the week. In setting a hiring time table, you risk making your selection from what was the best of an allotted number of interviews, not from the best and most qualified candidates.
Be willing, and prepared, to resist the natural tendency to hire someone as quickly as possible. Be steadfast in your confidence that with time, patience, and a consistent effort, the “wonderful” candidate will become available. A vacant position, while difficult, is not nearly as painful as having hired the wrong person for the job.
WHEN IT’S RIGHT, YOU WILL KNOW
Anyone can hire the proverbial warm body. There are, however, a few key principles that can enhance your chances of success in finding the most rewarding candidate.
Use your mind’s eye to imagine the type of person and qualities you are looking for. These may be qualities seen in other outstanding performers, or simply qualities you admire. This person does exist. Do not compromise these standards, whether it takes three interviews or thirty!
Begin each interview with a brief background and history of your company. Explain what you feel has contributed to your prior accomplishments, and the qualities you are looking for in a successful candidate. Be willing to share that your highest priority is to attain a superior candidate for this position. This approach does many things. It provides the interview with solid direction, lets the applicant know where your priorities are and allows the candidate to reflect on their own abilities to fulfill your requirements. They will then either rise to the occasion,or take themselves out.
Be patient as the applicant responds to you. Does this person seem to fully understand what you’ve said, or do their responses indicate they are either unaware or unable to expand upon your thoughts? Are the same things important to both of you? If you’re unsure, review your topics again to determine if the applicant maintains a thought process consistent with your objectives. If not, it’s time to look further.
More often than not, many qualified candidates can make a good first impression in an interview situations. It is human nature for an applicant to respond in a manner consistent with the needs of the employer. It can become a dance. How do you get beyond the surface to determine the true qualities of the individual?
Their body language told you they were somewhat uncomfortable at times. What made them nervous? The applicant often jumped into conversation before you were finished speaking. Was it out of enthusiasm, or a lack of self awareness? While seemingly minor, these issues could be an early indication of future concerns and problems. A second interview is an excellent opportunity to resolve any lingering doubts.
Use the second interview to put the applicant at ease. Take time to speak with them rather than at them. Let them know you are genuinely interested in getting to know them, as this is in both of your best interests. Focus your thoughts and questions on those areas of their personality that may concern you. This doesn’t have to be as painful as it sounds!
Remember the applicant who cut your sentences short? Discussing their /em>enthusiasm as a strength of an outgoing personality allows you to approach your concern in a positive way. Explain that you’ve sometimes found a person’s greatest strength can, in excess, also become their greatest weakness. Ask if their enthusiasm has ever been perceived as not listening, or being too talkative. Ask how they were able to adjust to the needs of the situation.
As the conversation develops, if they seem unaware, guarded or overly-sensitive, this is probably not the individual for you. If they seem receptive to this type of discussion, there is now every indication to proceed. In either case, you have the right to resolve your concerns, just as the applicant deserves the right to respond to them.
As you finalize your search, envision the applicant in a group of his or her peers, such as a sales meeting or trade show. Listen to your gut. A successful interview will give you a sensation of confidence in the individual. You feel that you know this person; you’re on a similar wave length. This clear, positive feeling seldom proves itself wrong, and can make your hiring decision obvious. Accept the fact that not all individuals are suited to fulfill each others needs.
Prior to offering a position to the individual I have chosen, I will often encourage the candidate to contact, as a reference, some of our other associates. This allows the candidate to learn more about our organization in a neutral setting. This process is a genuine confidence builder for anyone accepting a new position. You will also find that it allows both of you to begin a new relationship at “face value,” having been able to substantiate your previous conversations.
Patience in the hiring process is the key to a successful outcome. Learn to have confidence in your instincts. Dedicate yourself to finding those individuals who are best able to take advantage of the opportunity at hand. Never settle for second best!
INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2008. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM
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