If you read our post about finding good employees a couple of weeks ago, you may already have a few leads, or they may be lining up around the block. What do you, a small business owner, do when you have qualified applicants? You’ll want to make sure you snatch up and hire quality employees before another employer gets to them. The following is a process of what to do to make sure that once you’ve been introduced, you can seal the deal with a quality employee.
Filtering Quality Employees
Make a list
Know exactly what you are looking for in your candidate and what is most important. The job posting can be a guide, but also think of personality characteristics that will be well suited for the team. Know exactly who you want on your team going into the process, and be specific. What is most important? What is least important? Determine your values. That way, when the person is “just right,” you’ll find yourself mentally checking off everything most important on your list and you’ll know when to look past something that isn’t a “deal breaker.”
Check their social accounts
Do a quick Google search of the candidate’s name to see how they are represented online. Everyone of employable age should know that employers are quick to see what comes up about them on the internet, so if they haven’t been careful about their online sharing, you can’t expect them to be very forward thinking in the workplace, either.
Prescreen the candidates over the phone
Save time and energy by getting a good picture of who the person is over the phone. The Balance has a step-by-step method of conducting an effective phone screen interview.
Keep in mind: you’re not always hiring a virtual receptionist or a phone call answering service, though there are many businesses that should know when to hire an answering service. If their primary job duties don’t require the phone, you’re not testing the waters for their phone presence. You’re testing to see if they’ll move on to the in-person interview process.
Interviewing Quality Employees
Magic bullet questions
Just don’t. Though it may be tempting to ask probing questions like, “How many degrees are between a clock’s two hands when the clock reads 3:45?” or “How many gas stations are in the U. S.?” You shouldn’t. A few reasons why:
- It doesn’t actually tell them how competent they are at the job they are applying for.
- Most of the “Magic Bullet” interview questions are industry specific and can be researched prior to the interview. One job seeker on tells a story how in searching for a job as a financial advisor, she was asked the same clock question by all SEVEN banks she applied at, and she answered the same way each time. That told the banks nothing of her analytical skills!
- They undermine the creativity of the company and the seriousness of how they are taking the interview. One Redditor explains how the gas station question was a deciding factor in not taking a job:
There are many big, reputable companies that ask oddball interview questions.
These questions relate to the branding of the company. Sure, the answer to finding a penguin in the freezer can show your problem solving skills, but it emphasizes the silly, colorful company that Trader Joe’s is known to be. The same goes for Urban Outfitters: the retailer is known to be cutting edge, youthful, and creative. Allowing the interviewee to imagine themselves as a rockstar for a moment perfectly plays into this.
Culture, Culture, Culture
Those aforementioned examples of appropriate silly interview questions give the interviewee a reminder of who your company is and what it stands for. Remember during interviews with a quality employees, they are interviewing you as well. You should look for many opportunities to show them what it is like to work for your company and how it is different from another. If you’re a small business owner, emphasize how that makes your company a different environment to work in.
Do you offer a flexible schedule or work-from-home time? Can you bring kids or pets into the office if needed? Know what you’re offering them.
Use your experience
As the owner of the business, you’ve likely filled in for the same role that you are hiring for. What type of problem did you experience? Use this to frame a problem solving question. Questions that begin with, “What would you do if…” that are specifically related to the position will give you a good idea of how they will react on the spot to dilemmas on the job. If you’re deciding between two candidates which will be the better fit, you should go with the better problem solver.
Why are follow up questions so important?
A quality employee is one that has prepared for the interview. They don’t want to be caught off-guard, so they’ve anticipated some questions you may ask. However, hearing a prepared answer of what they think you may want to hear is not the information you want. You’ll want to dig a little deeper beneath the surface to find their real opinions, their non-rehearsed reaction. That’ll give you a better idea of who they are as a person and as an employee. Unsure of a good follow-up question? Ask them to tell you more about something they’ve already mentioned. Typically, the more details in an answer, the more truth.
Why’d they leave their last job?
This can give you another peek into whether or not they’ll be a good fit. If there wasn’t room for growth within their former compnay, is that something you can offer them? If they didn’t get along well with their boss, why? Do you feel like they may be putting too much blame on others in explaining why it didn’t work out? That can be a red flag.
Offering & Onboarding Quality Employees
Don’t make the decision alone. Allow other employees, even ones at the same level who will be doing the same job, to help with the decision process. Have them sit in the interview, if need be. It’ll make that employee feel as if their opinion is valuable and you can get another perspective as to whether the potential hire is a good fit for the job.
The price is right
Some employers like the idea of paying an employee less than they are worth. It seems like a good way to save money on the surface, but it’s not sustainable. Quality employees know their worth, and they won’t stay at a company long if they feel that they are undervalued.
Consider a test drive
It’s very costly to hire on a full time employee, so you may want to consider first hiring them on as a seasonal employee or a freelancer. This gives you a grace period. If things don’t work out, you don’t run the same risk if you decide to no longer work with this person. Be forewarned, this is risky to do to someone who knows their value. They’ll sign on, but continue with their job search
The first days
Welcome this new employee! New situations are fraught with anxiety and confusion. Bring in the welcoming committee, give a thorough tour, and make them feel at home. If they feel valued on day one, it will reassure them that they made the right choice in accepting your offer.
It doesn’t end there
Never stop recruiting
The minute you’re done hiring, you should still be looking outward for the future. You don’t want to be scrambling during the next time that you are looking to hire quality employees, after all. And you can begin to develop relationships with potential hires long before your’e looking. That way, when an opening comes up, you’ll have a large pool of potential hires to draw from.
Show quality employees that they are valued
Hire slow, fire fast
Take your time during the hiring process, because it is costly to bring on a new employee. But also, be aware when you’ve made a mistake and someone is draining your resources.