Hiring the right employees is one of the most important factors in forming a successful business. Whether you’re the one hiring or you have an HR director who takes charge of that, here are some tips that will help you make the right decision.
Take the Time to Read the Applicant’s Resume and Check His References
Chances are that the applicant has done some research on your company in preparation for his interview. He will probably have a question or two for you, and he will have prepared his possible answers around what your company does. As an interviewer, you should take the time to try to get to know the person before he or she walks in the door. By reading over the resume beforehand, you can prepare some questions for the applicant that will better help you to know if he’s the right fit. This may seem common sense, but I’ve seen interviews where the interviewer was unprepared, and this is unfair to both your company and the applicant.
If the applicant provides references or your application for employment requires references, it’s a good idea to contact the references to find out more about the applicant. Most references will be honest in their answers, and it’s also a good idea to let the reference just take a minute to tell them anything you would like to know, as a possible employer, about the applicant.
Focus on the Applicant’s Energy and Eye Contact
I have had the opportunity to conduct interviews before, and the interviewer can usually tell within the first minute or two whether the applicant is right for the job simply by reading the applicant’s energy and noticing his eye contact and the way he presents himself. If you’re hiring for a job that requires face-t0-face interaction with clients, you probably aren’t looking for someone who is timid, soft-spoken, unsure about himself and his capabilities, or does not generally present himself well. If the job requires someone who can work well on his own and take initiative, look for energy in the applicant’s conduct. If your workplace requires someone who is outgoing or your workplace needs a boost of energy for productivity, hire the employee who comes in the door and makes the interview pop. The interview is kind of like a first date – if it’s quiet and boring, filled with awkward silences and no spark, there might not be that click you’re looking for. If the interview turns out to be a good conversation and there’s a comfortableness where things just feel right, you’re probably on the right track.
How Does the Applicant Fit In With Who You Already Have
In most cases, the applicant will be joining a certain department or team that he will need to interact well with in order for your business to become more successful. Assess the feel of the group of people that applicant will be working with and have an idea before the interview of what kind of personality would fit well at your business. Remember, you’re picking a team. You have the right to be picky and choose who’s going to help you win. If you can’t see the applicant meshing well with your team, then he may not be the right fit.
A great way to help determine whether the applicant is the right fit is to invite another person into the interview. At one or two interviews at which I’ve been interviewed, the HR manager has invited a member of the department I was interviewing for to come and join. When you, as a possible employer, interview with someone else there to help you make a decision, you can often receive a quick reaffirmation of your initial responses to the applicant. Have both interviewers prepare questions beforehand, and then make sure there’s a good discussion between the two after the interview takes place to discuss the applicant.
Impressive on Paper vs. Impressive in Person
There are many instances where someone’s credentials or what they’ve listed on their resume just doesn’t seem to quite match up with how they are in person. You should take the time to assess your business and have a picture in mind of what type of applicant will best fill that position. If the applicant is an “A” on paper but a “D” in person, then make sure to note that. Take into consideration what the applicant will be doing on a day-to-day basis, and where he might advance to or end up at your business. You might be much more inclined to take a “B” on paper who’s an “A” in person than someone who’s a “A” on paper but a “C” in person. As an employer, only you can determine what that balance will be. Ideally, you would like to have someone who’s an “A” on paper and in person, but that is often difficult to achieve.
What Can You Afford
An applicant’s experience is almost always a bonus, but with that experience will usually come a higher expected wage or salary. Know before the interview occurs how much you are willing to pay the applicant in his new position. Some employers advertise a certain wage or salary, some leave it as “DOE”, and some print a wage or salary with wiggle room for negotiation. Determine which one of those categories you fall into, and be able to negotiate in the case that you need to. How important is someone’s experience for the position you are looking to fill? Are you willing to take the time and effort to train the person, or do you need an immediate expert to start things off by themselves?
All said, there are dozens of different tips and methods that could be listed when preparing to interview and hire a possible employee. There’s room for experimentation, and every business is different. Take the time to prepare, because your small business is often only as strong as it’s employees.