“I keep hiring people and they keep not working out.” This was my second or third trip to Scott’s office in just over a month and each time I couldn’t help but notice his staff was different than before. As we talked about it, he described his frustration at hiring someone and then having to let them go shortly thereafter. As it turns out, the problem was fairly simple – he just didn’t know how to select the right person for the job. This is a very common issue that growing businesses face. Let’s look at one quick tip that could have saved Scott from hiring the wrong applicants and will allow you to hire the right person the first time.
Unless you’ve studied human resource management, you may find hiring an employee to be a daunting task. Perhaps this is why so many small business owners delay the process of bringing in help as long as possible. How to hire the best doesn’t have to be a mystery and it sure isn’t rocket science.
Most hiring decisions are made on emotion. Do you like the person? Do you like the way they dressed and presented themselves during the interview? Did you “click” with the applicant? Unfortunately, most hiring decisions are made on this kind of criteria. No wonder studies have shown that there is actually a slight negative correlation between who you would likely hire based on a good interview and whether or not they would actually be a good fit in your business. If you want to hire the right person, you’ve got to do some testing.
Testing the right things
When most people think of testing, in the context of hiring someone, they think of personality tests. Although personality tests can provide you with helpful information about an applicant, they have fairly limited usefulness when it comes to hiring the best person for the job.
Years ago I had a very large whiteboard in my office. When I was hiring programmers, that whiteboard came in very handy for testing applicants. Applicants that I brought in to interview were given a sample project and asked to outline, in high-level pseudo-code, how they would create a program to accomplish the project. This assignment was a great way to check their logic and their approach to a given programming objective. Using this test, it was easy to spot the best job candidate.
Other tests such as Kolbe measure how people do things. Are they slow and methodical or do they get things done quickly? Having your top job candidates take paid tests like Kolbe, is a great way to ensure that the person you hire will be a great fit in your business and a welcome addition to your team.
How to hire the right employee starts with getting clarity about your expectations for that employee. Once you’re clear about what you need, your focus shifts to attracting qualified applicants. Testing the right things allows you to select and hire the right person the first time.