Posted on 10/11/2016
Hiring employees with the best skills and experience is only a part of the secret to finding the right person for your team - and keeping them.
So how do you find employees who are right for you?
According to entrepreneur, venture capitalist and Forbes columnist Alan Hall an employee’s willingness to embrace your company’s values and add that intangible X factor to your team are almost as important as their ability.
He says the seven C’s of hiring are compatibility, capability and competency but employers should also look for commitment, character and culture…as well as the right compensation fit.
Are they capable and competent?
This is what gets an employee past the first round of interviews – it is fair to assume that an IT person has the appropriate degree and work experience to manage most software challenges, that a carpenter can frame a house, or an accountant can work their way through a tax return. These mandatory skills can be tested objectively and benchmarked against best practice in your industry.
Speaking to references provides invaluable insight on the candidate’s personality and past work standards and achievements, allowing employers to validate the information provided during the interview.
And while employers will have a list of questions to ask the candidate, being prepared on what to quiz their referees shouldn’t be overlooked.
So what are potential questions to ask a referee?
Begin with general questions:
- How long did the candidate work for your business, and what type of work did they do?
- What were their strengths and weaknesses? • Were they punctual? Then you can dig a little deeper…
- When there was an urgent task at hand, what steps did they take to ensure it was completed on time?
- How did they respond to feedback, especially if it was critical?
- Would you rehire the candidate in the future?
And to finish – is there anything else you would like to add?
Does their character fit with your culture?
Just as important and perhaps harder to measure is a potential employee’s character and compatibility within an organisation. Do you think they “get” your company values or are just being agreeable to get the job? Do they have the right balance of conformity (to company policies and systems) and creativity (to see better ways of doing things)?
How well do you think they will fit into your culture? Trying to find clones of yourself or other valued staff members can lead to an ineffective team dynamic – research shows that the more diverse your team is, the more high-performing your team is, as they provide varying expertise, experience, perspectives and ideas to the table - so don’t discount the person who is louder (or quieter) if they provide a balance to others.
Psych and personality testing are providing an increasingly valuable benchmarking opportunity for employers but often a simple conversation with some scenario setting might also be useful.
- How would you handle a fellow employee’s mental illness?
- What do you do when there is a client or customer complaint against you?
- Do you believe women should be paid the same as men in equal roles?
- As a manager how would you handle a sexual harassment claim by a staff member?
Are they committed to their career and your company?
The issue of commitment is a big one. Is this job just a stepping stone, a chance to add your company to a CV that is already littered with 12 month stints at former employers?
Or is the potential employee willing to show their honesty and integrity by saying that they intend to travel in a year or two but want to make a significant contribution to your business while they are here…and perhaps return?
Looking at the regularity of their previous work experience and the right questioning can uncover whether the candidate is truly committed.
Potential questions to ask the candidate in the interview to unearth their commitment and career goals include:
- Why do you want this job and to work for our organisation?
- What are you looking for in terms of career development?
- How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
- How can you add to our business?
- What goals do you have in mind if you got this job?
Again, the right questioning can uncover whether the candidate is truly committed.
How do you compensate?
Finally, there is that sensitive issue of compensation. While the candidate has seen the CV and job description with a remuneration range, most hopefuls believe they can negotiate up.
Don’t wait until the end of the interview to talk money – if you are starting on different pages then everyone’s time is wasted and it will end in bitterness and under-performance down the track.
In today’s digital world there is one more C that Hall doesn’t mention, which is now perhaps more important than all of the others – change.
Every business and organisation in the world is undergoing a complete revolution in the way they do things every five to ten years – in finance, marketing, HR, inventory management and sales.
So what are the best ways to uncover whether the candidate is capable of responding positively to change?
Posing the question ‘tell me about the time when you were asked to change the way you did something’ – uncovers what the candidate defines as change, allowing the employer to establish whether they are on the same page when it comes to what change constitutes.
Further questions include asking for examples of how the candidate was able to grow, shift, and evolve to workplace change in their last position.
In the future, the employee who has the greatest flexibility and aptitude for dynamic change, who is constantly updating their skills and knowledge and seeking out new solutions and directions will be the type of employee you will want to keep…and promote.