In the late '90s, a large manufacturer in the Detroit area hired a gentleman to fill the position of marketing manager. His resume and references indicated he was a tremendous hire, but he quit after only one day on the job. At 5 p.m., he told his supervisor: "There is some type of disease in this company that I don't want to catch."
In this case, the disease was the negative company image other employees projected, and the new hire wanted no part of the situation. To ensure your business attracts quality personnel, first, assess your company's image. Take the following into consideration:
• Your employees' welfare. This relates to the work environment as existing employees see it; your management style; employee recognition; opportunities for advancement; income potential; and benefits.
• Your company's position within your industry. This relates to company growth, leadership and marketing styles, profitability, industry expertise, long-range planning and corporate ethics.
Once you are confident that great people will want to be associated with your company, be picky in who you hire. It's better to have no employee than to have an employee who continually fails at his or her job. Take your time and hire the right person; don't hire people out of desperation.
To make a good hire, you must have an interviewing process that works. In a good interview, you should:
• Provide the candidate a written, comprehensive job description that defines the requirements, objectives and activities associated with the job for which they are applying.
• Provide the candidate with a background description and written document explaining your job performance appraisal process.
• Be prepared with a series of open-ended questions that make the candidate think through his or her answers, share their feelings, prove their knowledge and demonstrate their experience. Cover topics including teamwork, leadership, interpersonal skills, project management, confidence, creativity, self-motivation, work-pressure, responsibility and risk. Look for pre-determined, favorable responses for each question to help identify a good match with your company.
• Conduct interviews that make the candidate to do most of the talking; you are there to get to know them and assess their abilities.
• Be honest and hide nothing. Make sure the applicant learns as much as possible about your company during the interview process. This eliminates bad surprises.
• Take detailed notes of the candidate's responses and create a record for the candidate's employee-personnel file if hired. These notes may come in handy if any problems occur.
• Avoid, at all costs, any testing or questioning practices that could be viewed as discriminatory. There are specific pre-employment inquiry guidelines that you must follow, and just about any human resources person can provide you with more information on the subject.
Follow these steps to hire the right people. Great companies are teams of great people working in a great environment. The greater your company, the greater your success.
Read the sidebar, "Real-life hiring horror stories."