The last U.S. Census reports that small businesses with fewer than ten employees make up 78% of all employers. A recent survey of small-business owners, by SurePayroll Inc., found that poor hiring costs about $10,000 per hire. And according to a recent study by Leadership IQ, nearly half of all new hires (46%) fail within 18 months. That means every move of every employee counts.
What do you need for your business? You need super stars. Simply enough it takes good people. Don’t think there are any good people out there? Wonder why all the bad ones are in your business? Could it be your lack of nterviewing skills?Interviewing is tough business and takes being prepared. We all know that hiring mistakes can kill your company. All the motivation, all the coaching, all the training, all the total quality management and all the reengineering in the world can’t make up for a hiring mistake. If you hire bad people you can’t overcome it or train your way out.
How does it happen and how can you overcome it? Here are a few ideas. Don’t go to the supermarket when you’re hungry. Just like shopping for food on an empty stomach shopping for employees when you’re desperate produces the same results–a sick stomach and an empty wallet. Hiring a bad employee can empty your wallet as well as create problems for your business . Statistics show that a bad employee can cost upwards to $40,000 or even more. If you’re desperate to hire you’re more likely to get a bad employee.
Here are some interviewing tips to help you hire the right employees, by the way, this link is a video.
Know what you’re looking for and what will work for your business. If you’re not sure of the job description watch your employees and determine what’s right and what’s wrong with your team. What skills does your team need and what’s missing. Simply, be able to define the job.
Benchmark the job. Do you have someone who works for you with the qualities that you’re after? What does that person do well and list the qualities that you want. Maybe your industry has statistics for job performance.
Don’t hire someone like yourself. This is one of the easiest and most deadly traps that interviewers face. When someone is like you rapport is built easily and it seems like a perfect match. Ask yourself, does my business need another employee like me? If the employee is like you, how will they do with customers who aren’t like themselves?
Meet with your critical staff and develop a check list for the hiring process. If more than one person will be interviewing, everyone should be clear on the criteria. As they interview they should check off the questions and see how closely the candidate fits the criteria. Liking a person doesn’t necessarily make a good candidate.
Be forever hiring. Interview people when you’re not hungry. Encourage applications on your web site even if you don’t have an immediate need for an employee. Who knows, someone spectacular may come along, someone you don’t want to pass up.
Should you read the the resumes? If you ask someone to bring a resume ask for a skills resume rather than an experience resume. Hiring is too costly to hire someone just because they have experience, hire those who have skills that will help you stretch their abilities and you need. What will references tell you, not much. By law the questions you can ask are so limited that it’s doubtful you will find any useful information. These are desperate times with many desperate people and mistakes are costly to you and your business. I know plenty of floor covering salespeople with plenty of experience; most of it is bad experience. Just because they have product knowledge doesn’t mean they’ll make a good salesperson. I would go for the one who can build rapport anytime.
I have been asked many time to provide job references for people who didn’t work for me!
Hold a telephone interview before you meet with your potential employee. Does the candidate make a good impression on the telephone? How do they sound on the phone, who answered the phone when you called, was it someone who could deliver a message? I have had employees whose wives couldn’t deliver a message.
Read the cover letters, check the spelling and word usage. When in doubt hire the person who can write and spell. Most likely they can also talk.
Throw in a wrench! Ask them a question to throw them off guard. “If you found that the customer over paid what would you do?” Sounds like an easy answer doesn’t it? Ask me sometime about the bookkeeper who suggested the owner keep the extra check when the customer had over paid.
Ask the candidate to give you a list of their skills; then ask them to demonstrate how they demonstrated these skills. Three pages of job experience doesn’t mean the person can do the job the way you want it done.
BEST Instruments testing has great, inexpensive tests that you can administer at the interview. Tests on communication styles will give you insight into your candidate and their ability to get along with other team members.
You’ve probably heard this suggestion: hire slow and fire fast. Whenever possible have a “get to know you period,” evaluate and if it’s not right move on.
Lisbeth Calandrino is a business coach and trainer. For more information on using BEST Inventories give Lisbeth a call at 518-495-5380.