Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to Hire Hourly Team Members Part 4… Getting Ready for the Interview

So… we’re ready to meet our applicant.  Well almost.  We have some preparing to do.  Have their application and resume printed and ready, and re-read them before meeting with the applicant.  You should also have scheduled and planned to have one or two of your assistant/apprentices attending the interview with you.  If you are hiring correctly, these are the future leaders in your company, so you need to take every opportunity to teach them the skills they will need.

Before the interview coach them on some questions to ask if they are brand new to this, and set the expectation that they WILL be asking questions!  Don’t forget to talk about the kinds of questions they can ask (ones that have to do with the applicant’s ability to do the job) and questions that they cannot ask, such as anything to do with a protected class.  For instance, we need to know whether or not the applicant will be able to get to work for any of the needed shifts.  Depending on your work place the start times could be unusually early or late.  It is NOT appropriate to ask HOW the applicant will be getting to work, as that has nothing to do with their ability to do the job.

Remember that it’s not a good idea to write or take notes on anything that will be going into the applicants file (should they be hired), so if you are going to take notes do so in a notebook or a separate piece of paper.

I think it’s always a good idea to take notes.  I take notes so that I can reference them if we happen to end up with more than one great candidate for the particular job.  I also use them as teaching tools.  After the interview I take the time to sit and talk to my apprentices about the interview.  Talk about the questions they asked as well as any you think they should have asked as follow up questions.  Question each of your apprentices about their thoughts on the applicant’s fit for the job, and whether or not they would make a great addition to the team.  This is the time to bring up any mistakes made during the interview.  What kind of mistakes?  Like leading the applicant… I have found that most people who are new to interviewing and leadership make decisions about applicants much too quickly, and then tend to unknowingly guide the applicant toward the answer they want to hear. 

For instance, asking a question (or making a statement) like ‘here at XYZ company we think everyone should arrive at work 10 minutes early to get ready and be at their workstation with plenty of time to prepare… when do you think team members should get to work?’  We are telling the applicant exactly what we want to hear.  I also find new interviewers giving applicants queues by nodding their heads when the applicant is saying something the interviewer wants to hear.  When we do this we are not getting an honest picture of what the applicants thinks… merely a reflection of what the applicant thinks we want to hear.  I feel it’s much better to ask your question, put on a poker face, and allow the applicant to answer as he or she sees fit.  Then feel free to ask follow up questions to dig deeper into the applicants thinking.
Before we go too far though… we should talk about what we are looking for and what we are do not care too much about.

What are we NOT hiring for?  Qualities or skills that we hear a lot about in blogs or even in school, and yet have nothing to do with the applicant’s ability to do the job…  Like what you say? 
Success in just about any job will probably not depend on:

Resume’ writing
Interviewing skills
Networking skills
Innovative abilities
Specific level of education
Specific amount of experience

Remember that we’ve come to the conclusion that success has very little to do with the ability to excel at tasks.  We are (probably) not hiring a resume’ writer, or interviewer, or someone to develop our next hit product.  Yes, we want our new hire to be able to get along with everyone at work, and not everyone has to be a graduate of “Toastmasters”.  We do want them to make an effort to dress for success, and we cannot turn our backs on applicants simply because they lack fashion sense (or don’t have the body of a fashion model).  Neither of these things will likely impact their ability to be a great asset to the team.

While different companies may have varying rules about tattoos or piercings, these things also have little to do with the applicant’s ability to help the team achieve greatness.  I’ll say it again; we all naturally like those who are most like us, however as leaders hiring for greatness, we have to remember that the best teams have people of different backgrounds and varying experiences that help the team adapt and stay ahead of the competition.

Crap!  Another post and we still haven’t met our applicant, or come up with a list of exactly what we are looking for.  Well, I can leave you thinking about those ‘clone worthy’ people you have (or wish you had) on your team.  What qualities do they share?  What is it about them that makes us value them so much.  I’ll bet that after some thought you’ll agree it has something to do with how they see the world; how they see themselves in their world; what they see as ‘possible’; what they see as ‘fun’; and how they navigate their world.  Those kinds of things make the ‘clone worthy’ valuable, and we just have to learn how to interview for those qualities in order to end up with a team full of great team members.

Until next time…

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