The numbers don’t lie. Your chances of making a great hire is only about 50%. In an effort to push that number a bit higher, we’ve assembled seven great tips to help you identify the best possible candidates so you can hire the best possible employees.
1. Hire an outsider.
This may seem to go against common sense, but let’s take a look at the logic. When you hire someone with previous experience, you’re probably thinking that they know the business so you won’t have to train them. But the fact is, competitors’ leftovers are rarely superstars, and you might be unknowingly bringing their worst habits into the heart of your operations. But when you nab someone new to your industry, you can teach them how to sell in your business, the way you want them to, without preconceptions about customers.
2. The more, the merrier?
More people working more hours simply isn’t the answer. Here’s why. While it might make sense to employ lots of part-timers to maximize your flexibility, what you’re really doing is bringing on moving parts who are increasingly disengaged from your gameplan. When you have employees working 2 or 3 other jobs, they’ll probably be so frazzled that there’s very little chance they’ll have time to settle into your culture—let alone care about making an impact on your overall success.
3. Plays well with others.
It’s definitely great for applicants to have outside interests and hobbies. But most of the time, they are done online or solo. But, as you know, your business exists in the real world. So it’s important to ask questions that will reveal their interests and abilities relating to other human beings in the real world.
4. The past predicts the future.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re all for finding out what a potential employee wants to do with their future. But your immediate concern is in the here and now. And the best way to find that out is by asking interview questions about how the applicant will work in your business today. Be specific. When they can tell you specifics based on their past, they know what that desired behavior looks like and how to deliver it.
5. Sell them your company.
Not literally, of course. But don’t be afraid to talk about your history. Or how you view the environment you have created for your customers, what remarkable service looks like, or how you want customers to feel and your management style. Showing them your passion for what you’ve built helps them see how their personality will (or won’t) fit in with the company. Your sales pitch (and their reaction) can go a long way in finding a good match.
6. Don’t trust your gut.
Savvy job seekers know to tell you everything you want to hear about their abilities, successes and how they’ll put that to work for you. So, throw them a curve by finding something not to like about them. Ask something like, “I’m sure you can agree no one is perfect. Can you give me a time you didn’t give great customer service and how you handled it?” Great employees can pinpoint such a time (we’ve all had them) and tell you what they’d have done differently or how it was resolved. Poor employees will just tell you it never happened.
7. Think about it.
You’ve had that experience when you meet someone who just clicks. But, don’t hire on the spot! Have them call you back at 4pm the next day. That will give you time to call their references, see a few other candidates, and, most importantly, let them sweat a bit about whether or not you’ll hire them. Taking your time helps you keep your wits about you and maintain firm control as an employer.
In closing, never forget that people want to work with and for a great employer. So craft your questions accordingly. Help them see that you care just as much about finding the right fit as they do. Let them know that their success is your success, meaning you’ll give them more attention and train them to exceed customers’ expectations. That’s how you find great employees. And that’s how you grow your business.