Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Perfect Staff: 8 Ways to Hire Better

Hopefully, when you read this article's title, you were skeptical.  You should be! The perfect staff does not exist.  As humans we are not perfect.  Highly trained commandos are better suited for combat than a chair bound accountant.  But not everyone can be a highly trained commando, or an accountant!  Some have the physical and mental drive and some don't.  Judging this well in your hiring process is what will give your company a true and large competitive advantage.

Many companies do not hire talent well.  Their searches are fast and sloppy.  The work to find more than one qualified candidate for an open position pays off in huge dividends.  The right candidate fills the position and grows the company.  The wrong candidate can create HR problems around their own employment and grow a wedge in your company that is hard to extract.

My company: Toth Event Staffing (Please like us on Facebook) prides itself on the talent search process.  For example, for our cater-waiter roster I do not consider any staff that does not have actual off-premise catering experience.  I do not have the ability to provide paid training, so I do not hire candidates that do not have the necessary experience.  It is important to recognize your companies limitations in the hiring process.

8 Ways to Hire Better:

1. BE SPECIFIC: Be extremely specific in your job advertising.  Do not advertise multiple jobs in one posting.  It does not save you money because it does not save you time.  Laser target your prospects.  Be specific if you require degrees, certifications or specific skills and experience.

2. PHONE INTERVIEW: Conduct a phone interview and write down answers to important questions based on the job ad you place.  Start the employee file on this phone call and go back to it if they make it to the in-person interview.  If they live to far away, are rude, do not have the specific experience you need than their is no need for an in-person interview.  Throw the phone interview sheet away if they are unqualified (unless you need it for legal HR purposes).  For prospects that meet your standards set the in-person meeting date and email them the details on location, attire, etc.  It is a waste of time to talk about what you are going to email and I find it is a great test to see if someone can receive, read and follow directions.  In our email centric world it is vital to know if someone can both receive and understand written messages and directions.

3. BE POSITIVE: Training your candidates or future candidates starts with the phone interview.  Be positive and even if you receive negative answers to your questions always remain positive in the interview process.  A poor candiate today can be a great candidate months or years in the future.

4. ALWAYS BE TRAINING: Training begins with the first interviews.  Set the tone and provide the applicants with an understanding of the mission of the company and how they can fit into and help grow the organization.  From busboy or mailroom clerk to the top brass, everyone has the ability to make your company better.  Make sure they understand your expectations.  Be positive as you may be training someone who might not get the job now but may be perfect for it later.

5. JOB DESCRIPTION: Micro manage the job description so you do not have to micro manage later.  Ideally you want your employees to be empowered an autonomous.  Hire people who can do the job provide training if you have to but create a very detailed and robust understanding of the job so their is no room for saying "I did not understand what was expected of me" later.

6. JUDGE ATTITUDE: Attitude is so important.  Sure, look at the resume. Verify information, if necessary, than throw it out.  If your applicant does not demonstrate the "knack", if they do not "get it" in the interview.  If they rub you the wrong way.  Be introspective and ask yourself why, but, if at the end of the day your gut says this is not the right candidate, trust that and move on.  My gut instinct is really good after I have asked the questions and had a bit of time with a candidate.  I am sure your gut will be able to make great informed decisions as well!

7. CHEF TEST YOUR CANDIDATES: After the initial interview for a chef to land a position they must actually demonstrate their skills.  The hospitality industry is a little more advanced in this way because they require candidates to prove themselves before hiring.  You can either cook or you can't.  You can either handle the volume of cooking or you can't.  You can either manage a kitchen or you can't.  Find out.  Create an interview process that stress tests your candidates and requires them to show their skills.  For my company (Toth Event Staffing) I require candidates to show up for the interview in uniform and my questions challenge them to handle situations that are real and unique to the position that they are applying for.

8. BE TRUTHFUL: This should be obvious but it has happened to me time and time again.  Employers make promises and do not follow through.  Promise less and deliver more, if you can.  Manage your employees expectations well.  Candidates are interviewing with you because they want to work.  If you promise to pay within three weeks when you pay in two weeks there is no issue.  However if you promise weekly paychecks the same exact employee who would have said yes to the three week pay cycle will be disappointed and upset.  They may not continue to work with you because you have not "help up your end of the bargain".  From responsibilities, to unpaid time, to dress code make sure #5 (Your Job Description) is really detailed and includes your responsibilities as well as theirs.

Again once your candidate is working with you, keep training them. Remember that the goal is to have your company recruits continue to grow, learn and accomplish their own goals as well as yours.  In that fashion you create a team and a company that will be loyal and support you in your endeavors.

I am certainly no master or doctor in this field so please share any advice or comments with me.  I continue to learn and grow to support myself as well as my staff.