An interview guide makes a structured and fair process for values-hiring easy to implement, not to mention almost fool-proof. It also makes it possible to concentrate on selecting the best prospective employees while minimizing the impact of “gut feelings” in hiring. Interview guides have several sections:
• Background questions: To confirm that the applicant’s technical skills meet minimum standards.
• Complete stories: Behavioral questions aimed at eliciting specific examples and stories about key attributes of the position. If a person can’t get beyond generalities, the person is not a good fit.
• Organizational match: Behavioral questions designed to help you discern if the person exhibits the behaviors that reflect your corporate values.
• Saying goodbye: Instructions on how to close the interview while conveying the values of the organization.
• Interviewer rating worksheet: How well did the candidate fit the key attributes of this position? Because there will be three interviewers, ratings can be averaged and made more objective. Discrepancies in perception can then be debated and discussed.
An interview guide is vital to the success of values-hiring -- it also helps
save money in the
interview process as you can zero in on the right candidates more easily;
it can also improve interview skills by minimizing mistakes that are based on
gut feelings and first impressions.
The guide also ensures fairness and consistency -- and helps you maintain a legal hiring process -- by ensuring that all interviewers are ask prescribed and agreed-upon questions, created by your best employees. It will build confidence among job candidates that they are being evaluated on their abilities.
Get Beyond the Job Description
Ask around in any sizeable organization and you’ll find that written job descriptions can quickly become obsolete. Whether it takes a few weeks, a few months, or a whole year, new hires quickly find themselves in a job notably different from what their written job description implied.
Ask the Right Questions
Your main solution, perhaps, is to press for specifics. You encourage hiring managers to write a job description that is accurate and specific -- to help your staffing services deliver the same result. When in doubt, you push the manager for more details.
If that’s your strategy, be warned: length and detail do not guarantee accuracy. A hiring manager may not know what the future holds, no matter how hard you press.
Test the strictness of standard or pro forma criteria. Are
experience, education, and/or GPA requirements hard and fast? Sometimes they
are -- doctors need medical degrees and delivery drivers need licenses.
Other times, seemingly iron-clad criteria exist only to fill in a blank, or to serve as an elimination tool when sorting through resumes. What if the data entry clerk didn’t have three years’ experience using the client’s software package, but had ten years experience using a competitive product? Would it matter?
Ask: “If I delivered a candidate who could do the job, but didn’t meet this requirement, would you care?” If the answer leads away from requirements toward what it means to “do the job,” that’s information you can use.
Learn what the job really is. .
Sometimes, hiring managers don’t know. If possible, talk to peers or direct
reports informally. Ask: “What do people in this job usually succeed at?”, “What
do they usually struggle with?” and, “What do they tend to like and to complain
about?” The insights you glean will help paint a fuller picture of the job than
any written description could.
Dig beyond platitudes. All jobs require things like “working
in teams” and “adapting to change.” What does it mean for the job you’re sourcing?
Ask: “Why do you list ‘good team player’ (for example) as a requirement?” and,
“In what situations is this requirement necessary?” The more you know about
what’s really going on, the more effective you can be at recommending candidates
-- and recommending the job to candidates. Your goal as a staffing service,
after all, is to provide a good fit for the first two weeks and for the next
Consider career advancement. Most jobs promise career advancement
opportunities, at least in the abstract. Remember that “where someone can go
from here” and “where people usually go from here” may differ. Ask: “What happened
to the previous job holder?”, “Did he or she move up, move over, or move out?”,
and, “What’s the best case and worst case career ladder from here?” You’ll learn
about ideal hires; you’ll also glean specific nuggets about advancement opportunities
that you can use to woo potential candidates.
All of this, of course, is not to deny the value of a well-written job description. A good one certainly makes life easier. But start by envisioning a number, written in bold red marker, at the top of every job description.
Three Recruiting Strategies to go from Survival to Success in 2011
You can’t verify this with your dictionary, but if you work as a recruiter,
you probably often feel like your title is synonymous with “convenient scapegoat,”
“underpaid mercenary” or “misunderstood go-between.”
At first glance, your job sounds simple enough: connect potential talent with the hiring managers who need to fulfill the recruiting process. In reality, your job lands you directly between two different, equally unrealistic sets of hiring expectations: those of the managers and those of the candidates.
How can you keep from going crazy as a recession-time recruiter? Here are three recruiting strategies.
First, Be a Teacher
When a job candidate is expecting a salary 20 percent over the market rate, or a hiring manager seems to think it will take about 24 hours to find the perfect candidate, you know they’re in for a disappointment.
Rather than walking away, educate your customers on both sides of the fence about what their salary expectations should be. Begin by asking permission to play the role of teacher -- for example, you could reply, “If you’d like, I could share with you some of my experience in working with other candidates and hiring managers.” You’ll almost invariably get an affirmative answer.
For example, to a candidate who is seeking an over-the-top salary, you might say, “I’ve recruited around ten people with similar qualifications to yours and last year I conducted benchmarking studies of starting salary offers in our industry. I’m sorry to say that my experience suggests that your expectations are high by ten to twenty percent. I don’t mean to discourage you, but I thought you might like to know what I know.”
Or, to a hiring manager who is intent on reducing time to hire and tells you that “because of the recession I expect you to find the right candidate even more quickly,” you might draw parallel to another marketplace: “I see myself as a sort of real estate agent, only I find candidates to hire instead of houses to buy. But remember, you’re looking for ‘a house that works for you.’
Second, Be an Advisor
Teaching is the first step in your recruitment strategy, but it’s not enough. In reality, you’re not just an educator, but also an advisor. Unlike your two sets of customers, however, you spend your career on both sides of the job market. You know what’s different this month and this year, and you also know that some things never change.
Of course, candidates and managers don’t know that you know all this.
To be seen as an advisor in the hiring process, you must behave like one. In other words, make sure your candidates and your managers see you offering useful counsel at least as often as they see you performing clerical duties. That means taking the time to come up with sound advice, and offering it as part of a recruiting strategy.
Finally, Be an Account Manager
“Managing your accounts” goes beyond teaching and advising individuals. That’s because the needs of accounts are complementary to, but different from, the needs of the individuals within them.
• The hiring manager needs a person to fill the requisition so that work gets
done, now. The account needs a hire that is going to last over the long term,
not one that will cost time and money for training today, only to leave for
another job in six months.
• A manager needs to conduct interviews that get to the heart of whether the person can do the job. An account needs to conduct interviews to maintain a fair and legal hiring process.
• A manager needs to put together a team. An account needs to create a sustainable workforce.
Completing the hire is different from growing the account; ideally, you want to do both. A good recruiter adds value today and positions him or herself to do so again in the future.
Power Interviewing: Questions that Extract Candidate Skills and Capabilities
The success of your small business recruiting
strategy depends on many factors, but one is key: your ability to accurately
assess the candidate’s awareness of their accomplishments and achievements during
the interview process.
Interview Questions that Focus on Achievement
Focusing on achievements and accomplishments comes in a number of forms, but particular interview questions get to the bottom line more efficiently than others.
Do away with the traditional “Tell me about yourself” interview question and asking instead, “Walk me through your career progression, leading me up to what you do now in your current role at XYZ Company.” The logic? Focus on progression through the ranks and the assumption of greater responsibilities
An introductory interview question to ask such as, “What makes you stand out among your peers?” is an excellent litmus test in probing for an individual’s level of self-esteem and awareness of accomplishments.
If the job candidate stumbles in coming up with an answer, you could gently
lead them to a similar interview question, “Why would your former bosses
say you’re special? What do you think they would remember most about you?”
Anyone could answer the question, but not everyone could answer it in a sincere
and open way.
And don’t forget the traditional queries, “Tell me about your greatest strength and greatest weakness: Approach this as objectively as you can in terms of what your most respected critic might say about you.”
Quantifying Candidate Skills
Depending on the type of hire you’re making, you could easily step up this strength/weakness question by asking, “What have you done at your present/last company to increase revenues, reduce costs, or save time?” This query will give you insights into how well candidates can quantify their achievements. And don’t forget that junior staffers should still be able to answer that question in terms of saving time.
The Results-Driven Candidate
If there’s one quality that many small business owners wish they could find, it’s employee motivation. An excellent interview question to learn more about a candidate’s initiative is, “What’s the one achievement that you’re proudest of in your career and that helped you garner the most kudos and recognition at work?” People who focus on achievements and accomplishments tend to cut through the clutter and get to the bottom line faster.
No, these aren’t necessarily easy interview questions and they may take some self-critical insight and soul searching on the candidate’s part. But your company is certainly worth it.
Checking Criminal History: Background Checks
for Small Companies
In today’s business environment, background
screening has become a crucial tool for screening out undesirable employees
and creating a safe workplace.
Hiring due diligence calls for an accurate, thorough and legal hiring process that takes into account varied state laws as well as Federal regulations.
HireRight Background Checks for employment purposes,by Kelsey Corcoran Galarza
Q: Why do criminal checks?
A: The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior, so you want to look for past indications that a job applicant might not be an employee you want to have. It’s common for employers to look at screening as a way to reduce the risk of workplace violence, theft, fraud, and negligent hiring suits. Also, the cost of employee turnover is high, so the more informed you can be before making a hiring decision, the better.
Q: When you turn something up, do I have to tell the applicant?
A: If you decide not to hire based in whole, or in part, on the results of a background check, you have obligations as an employer, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to let the applicant/consumer know of your intent and give them a reasonable time to dispute the information. This process is referred to as “pre-adverse action.” If the information is not disputed or corrected after a reasonable time, you can take adverse action and send a letter telling the applicant what you’re doing. There are additional disclosures required by the FTC as part of this procedure.
Q: Do I have to screen everyone or no one?
A: No, you can choose to screen only some categories of employees, as long as everyone in the category is treated the same. For example, you can screen chief financial officers, but not administrative assistants.
Q: Does the crime have to be related to the job?
A: Under Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, the crime does have to be related to the job. Otherwise, you may be at risk for discrimination suits or EEOC complaints, even if your reason for the decision is not discriminatory.
Q:What consent do I need from the job seeker?
A: A signed written consent that’s separate from the job application. It should describe the nature of the background check. The background checking company can provide a standard consent form or you can have your legal counsel write one for you.
Q: What can I ask about criminal records on my application?
A: In most states, you can ask if someone has been convicted of a crime within a certain range of years that’s different in each state. Some states have restrictions on what you can ask or require particular language when asking about criminal records. California has rules about marijuana use, for example.
Six Considerations: Should You Hire the Overqualified
Economists say the economy is picking up, but for many job seekers times are
still very tough. As a result, employers are receiving resumes from people who
by all measure are over qualified for the positions they offer. We all want
the level of talent in our businesses, and at least on paper some of the
people applying for open roles could make huge contributions to our businesses.
But we are leery of hiring people for whom our job looks like a step down. We
want people to be motivated
employees who work for us, and we certainly don’t want to pay someone while
they continue their job search.
Given these factors, how can you determine if an overqualified job applicant should be weeded out or given serious consideration? Here are some points to consider:
How long will you need them?
Sometimes hiring a very experienced person is worth it no matter how long you keep them. For example, retailers and other companies with high turnover can get real value from an employee who only stays employed for six months.
In other situations, hiring an individual with very deep industry or technical knowledge is worth it no matter how short their tenure with you. In all these situations, there is limited downside to hiring someone whose experience exceeds the requirements of your position.
Would you hire this person without their experience?
Don’t hold your nose and hire people because of their resumes alone. The intangibles of employee motivation, drive, and cultural fit almost always trump experience in the end.
It sounds funny to say, but don’t settle for someone just because they have great experience. Make sure they are the kind of person you want in your organization.
Do they have passion for your company?
Candidates with superior qualifications should exhibit more excitement for your role than do other candidates. After all, if they are really good, they should be working for you because they want to, not because they have to. If you don’t sense real excitement about the job, don’t hire them.
What are their goals?
In every interview we should be exploring candidates’ past accomplishments. With overqualified candidates, also make sure to spend time exploring their goals for the future. What does success look like to them for their careers? Based on their answers, do you think your company offers them a good path to achieving their goals?
Do you offer work/life balance?
When making a job offer, if you offer someone a good compensation package and a superior lifestyle, you can turn an overqualified job candidate into an A-player.
I know attorneys who are vastly “overqualified” for the small law firms for which they work -- and they couldn’t be happier. They work reasonable hours, make good money, and have a quality life outside of the office.
If you are offering this kind of package to job seekers, don’t just accept applications from overqualified people, actively seek them out. They want you as much as you want them.
Can you “try them before you buy them?”
Any opportunity to hire a job seeker on a temporary basis is worth exploring.
A project-based engagement also helps people to determine if they can be happy in a role that is technically “beneath their pay grade.”
There are a lot of reasons why overqualified candidates don’t work out. But the occasional gem that you find makes it worth your time to take these candidates seriously.
Can you offer them a balance of work and life? All of these factors can help you turn an overqualified candidate into an A-player.
Closing the Deal: Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse
You’ve learned about the candidate via social media, applied your best interview strategies, completed your reference checking, looked at the job's market value, and now you’re ready to make someone a job offer. What do you need to do to seal the deal?
Any delay in making an offer can cause you to lose the best applicant. Close the deal fast. A speedy job offer demonstrates your desire to have this person join your company. It shows you think quickly and respect the candidate’s time.
Make a Competitive Offer
Before entering negotiations, get the lowdown on ongoing salary trends. Any offer you make should be fair to the candidate and in line with the standards of your industry and your company. Review recent postings to get a handle on what similar companies are offering in terms of salary and benefits.
Be Creative in Your Compensation
Many small employers find it difficult to compete on employee compensation alone. When you can’t offer a high starting salary, consider other financial incentives, such as stock options, profit sharing and signing bonuses. More and more candidates can be enticed with “lifestyle” benefits that help them balance work and life,.
Say It and Write It
It’s generally best to make an offer in person; you’re able to explain all aspects of your salary and benefits package, while the candidate can ask any questions. Avoid misunderstandings by formalizing your job offer in writing.
Along with starting salary, include additional details such as job title, job responsibilities, location, etc. Be careful not to imply more than you are sure you can deliver.
Pump Up Your Business
Presenting an offer is the time to promote the benefits of working for your company. Highlight why someone should come to work for your business. It could be anything, like cutting-edge opportunities, new chances for advancement, or your unique corporate culture. Demonstrate how your business is a match to the candidate’s life and lifestyle. This is your opportunity to make the candidate feel good about coming to work for you.
Know When to Stop
Not every candidate is going to jump at your offer. Some candidates may appear reluctant as a negotiating ploy, thinking their hesitation will encourage you to make a stronger offer. Others may be unsure that the job is a good match. Try to discover the source of the indecision. If a candidate is looking for a greater salary, determine if it aligns with the person’s potential contribution.
Top Five Lies Told by Job Candidates
In the business world, every employee has the potential to impact your company’s performance, culture and bottom line. That makes it crucial to avoid hiring the wrong candidate, which could result in a costly and even critical mistake. Those costs are often a result of falsified information included on the candidate’s resume.
According to background screening leader HireRight, job seekers often exaggerate, falsify credentials and even lie outright on their job applications. Employers should beware of the following tactics that some candidates use to embellish or even falsify their resumes:
1. Exaggerating dates of past employment Candidates often stretch the truth to cover gaps in their work history that they may not want to explain, such as the job seeker who extended his employment dates to cover up a six month jail sentence! Sometimes discrepancies are the result of an honest mistake, but employers should always verify employment dates.
2. Falsifying the degree or credential earned A candidate will sometimes claim that they earned a particular degree, when he or she actually only took some relevant classes, or their resume might exaggerate an academic major so they appear more qualified for the job.
3. Inflating salary or title It’s hardly surprising that a candidate might exaggerate these important facts to get a better job or a higher salary. That’s why companies typically contact previous employers to verify positions held by the candidate.
4. Concealing a criminal record The most important reason that many companies perform background checks is to maintain a safe workplace or to mitigate risk. Compliance is also a key reason why some companies do background checks.
5. Candidates who are trying to hide a criminal conviction on their record are likely to be attracted to small companies as they assume that the company will not conduct background checks. Such applicants often try to avoid detection by not disclosing criminal convictions or by changing minor details on their applications, such as the spelling of their name or date of birth.
6. Hiding a drug habit Whether an employer supports a drug-free workplace or is required by regulatory agencies to perform drug tests for certain positions, employers should be aware of the tactics that some candidates employ in order to hide a drug habit.
In times of economic duress, applicants may be even more tempted than usual to varnish the truth. With so much at stake, it pays for employers to look out for these five tactics.