Having the right staff is vital to the success of any size of business. Here are some tips to help small businesses reduce the uncertainty that is inherent in the hiring process.
1. Idealize the fit. An ideal candidate will need to have certain abilities and qualifications. That person also needs to work well with you and your other staff. They will need to work in a way that fits how your business already operates, and how the people there already work. Many interviewers spend a lot of time testing and verifying an applicant's qualifications, and leave little time to discover how well they'll fit in. The resume ought to demonstrate the person's qualifications on its own. Once you have confirmed that the resume is accurate and the skill set is a match, spend some time to determine whether they have the right working style for doing the job, in the way you would like it done.
Remember also that you aren't limited to just one interview. Many organizations use the first interview to narrow-down the list of applicants to two or three top contenders, who return for a second interview that explores fit and qualifications at a greater depth. Even if there is only one clear contender, a second interview gives the opportunity to be certain that person is the right fit.
Do you really want to work every day, ongoing, with someone you only talked to once, for 45
minutes or so?
2. There's nothing like good insurance. Despite our best efforts, there is still some uncertainty in determining long-term fit from a few interviews, for both employer and candidate. Starting the employment with a three or six month probationary period during which either party can "change their mind" with no obligation, prevents each party from being stuck in a situation that is a very bad or unpleasant fit.
3. Extract meaningful information. Ask some non-standard, open-ended questions that will really identify the work style and fit that you want. When I was a manager, one of the things I used to do for every interview was ask applicants to sit at a computer in our office after their interview, and write three short paragraphs about something important to them. It was a good way to test their writing skills, which are very important in many jobs. It also gave some insight into their personality, and what they valued.
Asking open-ended questions can give you additional understanding of candidates' personalities and work style. They can also help applicants relax a little, as they get a chance to ponder what matters to them and to give you further insight into who they are.
4. Understand your Gen Y applicants. Millennials are quickly changing the way we interact with each other and conduct business. Their tech-orientation and community-based values have already greatly changed the global marketplace. Many of them also voice the naïve expectations that the young have always held, which some employers have found off-putting, such as flexible office hours, work/life balance, casual attire and speedy advancement. The main difference is that millennials are more comfortable expressing their thoughts and concerns, than previous young generations have been.
This trait is usually a valuable contribution to successful work teams. It can appear differently in a fuller context, than it does through our own value system.
Jay Katz is an executive coach who specializes in first-time CEOs and C-Suite executives, and those who aspire to those roles. He works in a friendly, objective, confidential, insightful and collaborative way, to help his clients achieve their most elusive goals and attain new targets. Jay holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through his website: www.jaykatz.ca.
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