It’s a common scenario: You spend weeks interviewing potential candidates for a position at your agency, and you think you’ve found “the one.”
After months of training, you realize they’re not right for the position. You, the new recruit and the rest of the team are all frustrated. You let the person go and start the interview process again—and on and on and on.
The financial and opportunity costs of making a wrong hiring decision are enormous. According to some estimates, the costs of recruiting, interviewing, selecting and training a new employee range from one to five times the annual salary of the position you’re hiring for. Ouch!
Often, the problem is that business owners lack a clear picture of exactly who they need to hire. You may know everything about the position you’re trying to fill, but understanding who’s best for that position is another matter entirely.
Start by asking yourself three questions:
What outcomes do I expect for this role? Are you looking for a producer? Someone who continually generates creative ideas? Someone who brings a sense of order to a chaotic work environment? Who’s your dream employee, and how would they impact results?
How will the new hire spend their time? What will they do on a daily basis to achieve the outcomes you expect? Will they be in a back room entering and processing data, or will they be the face of the company? Will they eventually become a team leader in a management position?
What talents and traits would make someone excel in this role? Think about someone who’s excelled in this role in the past. What were their talents? What was their personality? Once you have a list, drill down deep. For example, if the best receptionist you ever had was friendly, what exactly do you mean by “friendly”? Good eye contact? Good engagement? A soothing personality?
Putting a person in a role that does not utilize their strengths is the surest path to disengagement and frustration for both you and your customers. As Jim Collins said in “Good to Great : Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't,” it’s not just getting the right people on the bus, but getting them in the right seats, too.
Keith Baldwin is a strengths-based performance coach, producing measurable performance and engagement results for entrepreneurs, teams and individuals.
What to Ask
Once you have a solid picture of who’s the ideal candidate for a position, develop interview questions that will help you find the right fit.
Your questions should elicit stories that display how someone exemplified the talents and strengths you’re seeking. This helps identify their real self, rather than the “best foot forward” self most people bring to the interview. —K.B.