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The ABCs of Hire Tough, Manage EasyPosted 5/11/2005
When you make it a practice to hire tough, everything else gets easier. "Hire tough" managers know exactly who they're looking for and refuse to lower their standards. They cover all the bases - from A to Z - and create a win/win situation for employee and employer alike.
Attitude. Hire for attitude, train for skills. The No. 1 reason customers don't come back is because of an attitude of indifference on the part of an employee.
Body Language. During interviews, pay attention to the applicant's posture, facial expressions, and eye, hand and leg movements. If you focus only on taking notes, you'll miss more than 50 percent of what the applicant is communicating nonverbally.
Capacities. Define the mental (IQ) and physical (strength, stamina, dexterity and more) capacities needed to do the job. It's senseless to spend time with any applicant who can't meet these basic requirements.
Decision Making. Most interviewers make a hire/no hire decision within 30 seconds of meeting an applicant. This gut-instinct approach has proven to be less reliable than flipping a coin. Weigh all the information - pre-employment test results, interview results and reference checks - before dismissing or hiring any candidate.
Employees. A great source of new employees is all the good employees you already have. To get more good people just like them, start an employee referral award program.
Former Employees. Your best source of new employees is all the good people who used to work for you. Go ahead, call, and ask if they want to come back - the grass doesn't always turn out to be greener. Even if they're not interested, ask them if they know of anyone else who might be.
Gut Feeling. If your gut says, "Don't hire this person," then, don't. If it says "Hire this person," doubt it and get objective verification through testing and reference checks.
Hire Tough. The most expensive person you'll ever hire is the one you have to fire. Hire tough systems are the best insurance against negligent hiring lawsuits, workers' compensation claims and management migraines.
Interview Tough. Prepare by reviewing all the information you've collected so far and plan the questions you'll ask. Tell applicants you expect them to be truthful. Don't interview with the application in front of you or you'll end up simply confirming information instead of finding out what you need to know.
Job. The most important job you have is hiring. If you put the right people in the right jobs, managing them is easy. As Red Auerbach said: "If you hire the wrong people, for whatever reason, all the fancy management techniques in the world won't bail you out."
Knowledge. The more you know, the less you risk. There are only two sources of knowledge about a potential new hire - the applicant and the people who know the applicant. Check it all out thoroughly.
Listen. The most common mistake interviewers make is talking too much during the interview. How much can you learn while you're talking? Make sure the applicant is doing the talking at least 80 percent of the time.
Maintain Control. Stay in control of the interview by telling applicants up front what you're going to cover. Let them know they'll have an opportunity to ask questions after you've told them briefly about the job and the company and have asked your prepared questions.
Notes. Take notes, but never on the application. It's a legal document that you need to keep on file whether or not the applicant is hired.
Open-Mindedness. Be aware of your personal biases and don't rule out anyone because of them. You're looking for the best person to do the job - not the person you like best.
Personality. Like people, jobs and companies have personalities. Try to get a good fit between the applicant, manager, job and company. While no applicant will match each of the other three, people with good attitudes will manage their personalities (do things they don't really like to do) to get the job done.
Quality Assurance. Never lower your standards. Once you've identified the capacities (mental and physical), attitudes, personality traits and skills necessary to do the job well, don't ever lower your standards. The No. 1 reason good people leave is because they get tired of dealing with hiring mistakes - the people with poor attitudes or who aren't cooperative team players.
Recruiting. Just like marketing, recruiting is an ongoing activity. You have to recruit all the time. The very best time to recruit is when you don't need anyone.
Skills. If you have to hire for skills, make sure you get what you need by testing for them. Have the cook applicant prepare a meal, the driver parallel park and the cashier make change.
Testing. Every step in your hiring process should be viewed as a test and each test should get progressively more difficult. It's the only way to screen in the best.
Upgrade. Every time you have to hire, it's an opportunity to improve the whole organization. Keep raising the bar.
Verify References. Always, always, always check references - even if you're hiring your neighbor's son. The only way to avoid negligent hiring lawsuits and bad hiring decisions is to verify the information the applicant gives you against every reference.
Who, What, Why, When and Where? You can't hit the target if you don't know what it looks like or where it is. Write a job analysis that answers these questions and you'll hit that target every time.
X-Out Unsuitable Applicants. Do a short phone screening before asking anyone to come in for testing or an interview. This limits your legal exposure and ensures they meet all your basic requirements (capacities, skills, hours they can work, reliable transportation and availability).
Yield. Go slow. Don't make an offer before you have all the facts. Always remember that what you see in the interview is better than anything you'll ever see again. If you're afraid you'll lose an applicant to a competing employer, make an offer contingent on the outcome of the drug test, physical exam, background and/or reference checks.
Zero-In. Identify the mental and physical capacities, the attitudes, personality traits and skills you need. Zero-in on your target. Test for what's needed and interview only the best of the best.
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