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The Manager's Pocket Guide to Interviewing and Hiring Top Performers

Book Description

Today's tight labor market is forcing organizations to maximize the time they spend attracting and keeping top performers. Organizations that can attract, inspire,and retain top performers are in the position to beat out their competition. This is true both in market share and being able to draw outstanding employees. This book is for individuals with training responsibilities who are looking for tools to help their managers, supervisors, and/or team leaders interview, hire, and retain top performers. If you or someone in your hiring system has limited experience in interviewing and hiring, this book will help you and your organization to be more proficient in hiring practices. Includes over a dozen job aid templates for recruiting, hiring, and retaining top performers.

Table of Contents

  1. Title
  2. Copyright
  3. Acknowledgement
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Introduction
  6. Chapter One: The Importance of Hiring Right
    1. 1. Develop a Hiring SystemThis is a step that is surprisingly forgotten by many organizations. Having a hiring system is as important as setting earnings goals or having a departmental budget. Without a plan and a structure in which to execute the plan, your hiring system simply cannot be effective.
    2. 2. Understand the Job You Are Trying to FillTo hire the best person for the job, you must know what the job requires. It is a good idea to conduct a job analysis of the position you are hiring for. If you really want to be ahead, conduct an analysis of every position within your organization. Spending the time on job analyses can save a lot of time and money down the road by providing you with:
    3. Process for Job Analysis.The job analysis process involves the following steps:
    4. 3. Conduct Structured InterviewsAn unstructured interview is where you come to the interview with an idea of what you’d like to find out, but nothing is formalized or systematic. A structured interview is where you have very clearly identified questions, both in content and form, that are asked of all the candidates alike. Recruiting and hiring specialists find that structured interviews are far more valuable and give better information than unstructured interviews do because they rely less on instinct and more on data.
    5. 4. Use Behavioral InterviewingBehavioral interviewing is based on the idea that the best predictor of future work performance is in past performance. This method of interviewing has been found to be extremely effective by hiring managers because it focuses on the candidate’s ability to do the job rather than his or her ability to get the job. In the behavioral interview, the interviewer asks the candidate to recall specific examples from his or her past work experience. After the candidate provides an answer, the interviewer asks the candidate to detail the specific steps or actions they took and the corresponding results.
    6. Write Effective Job DescriptionsIf you cannot effectively describe the position, you cannot effectively hire for it. Oftentimes, historical assumptions about the background, education, and skills necessary to do a job shape job descriptions. Analyze these carefully. If the current description says the candidate needs to have 10 years of experience, why is that? If there is a clear rationale, then include it. What if a well-qualified candidate with 8½ years of experience wants to apply but doesn’t based on the description? What if the same person does apply, but your screening process eliminates him or her based on that one requirement? Review each of the performance requirements you established in the job analysis and ask these questions:
    7. Top 5 Ideas from this Chapter•     Hiring a new person can cost up to 30 to 100 percent of the employee’s salary.
  7. Chapter Two: Recruiting Strategies
    1. Create a PipelineYou should work as hard to create a pipeline of candidates as you do to create a pipeline of business. It is not enough to search for the people who are actively looking for jobs; you need to consider those who might not be actively looking as well. A recent survey cited in the New York Times found that half of the managers responding over the age of 35 talk to headhunters at least quarterly. There are always some people who could be cultivated and interested in the positions you have to offer. Capitalize on this. Establish solid relationships with people wherever you go; every person you meet could be a future employee.
    2. Within Your OrganizationDo what you can to prevent employees from leaving in the first place. We’ve already seen how costly one instance of employee turnover can be. Communicate regularly with your employees and have an open-door policy. If they are discontent in their position, encourage them to come to you before seeking out other opportunities. They will appreciate being heard and seeing the possibilities for themselves with the organization. You may have a chance to challenge that employee in ways you did not know they wanted. Open communication will go a long way in keeping your employees to begin with.
    3. Traditional AdvertisingThere are two kinds of advertising here: organization advertising and specific position advertising. It is important to your overall recruiting scheme that your organization’s name is out in the community. Raise the level of awareness of what your organization specializes in, what kind of an environment it is, and any other positive selling points that you would like people to know when they think of your organization. You can accomplish a great deal through newspaper ads about your organization, billboards, and radio and local television ads. Always be on the lookout for new and creative ways to get your name out into the community.
    4. Employee Incentive ProgramsYour employees are a valuable resource when recruiting; good employees generally give good referrals. More and more organizations are offering their employees incentives when they are instrumental in recruiting someone to the organization. Many organizations pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for a successful referral. The “finder’s fee” is typically not paid to the employee until the new hire has been on the job for a certain amount of time, but these arrangements have proven to be very effective for finding and hiring excellent candidates.
    5. Vendors and CustomersThese groups are often overlooked. The people with whom you do business know your organization and how you conduct business, and are therefore an excellent touch point when you are trying to fill a position. They are also connected with other professionals in many geographic areas as well as specialty areas and may have an extensive list of contacts. You never know where a good lead may come from, so look everywhere.
    6. Minority Groups/OrganizationsContact the groups in your area that specialize in the promotion and advocacy of minority groups. You will find that if your organization does not have employees from a variety of backgrounds, you could be missing out on a great share of the market. By becoming more diverse, you will also attract more qualified candidates from all backgrounds who want to work and create and in a stimulating environment.
    7. Employment AgenciesThese organizations are primarily candidate geared. They spend a great deal of time educating potential candidates on how to write a resume, how to prepare for an interview, and how to conduct themselves in an interview—basically, how to get hired. When organizations that list with that particular agency need candidates, the employment agent scans through the databases to find individuals with the required skill set. Most states have state-run employment agencies, but check to see what other specialty employment agencies are in your area.
    8. Recruiting/Staffing FirmsJust as the employment agencies focus more on the candidates, these firms focus their attention on the organizations. They often specialize in a specific industry (e.g., financial, technology), so find out which firms would be of greatest benefit to you. Your organization provides them with the specifications for the job, and they spend time looking for you. They may draw upon the pool of candidates they already have, may advertise, or otherwise find referrals to help you find a good hire. This is a very active kind of recruiting. When organizations call with a need, some recruiters will begin to call people in similar positions with other organizations. When they have found the technical and performance skill sets you require, the recruiter evaluates the qualities and qualifications of the candidates, and passes on the best to you. The unique thing about these firms is that many of the people they will place in new positions already have jobs and are happy with them. These employees are in an excellent position; they don’t need to have a job to pay the bills, or want to get away from a poor organization or manager; they are considering your position because they want to.
    9. Temporary Job Placement FirmsMany temporary agencies are also full-time staffing firms. If you need to fill a position for a short amount of time, have an immediate need for help while you search for and recruit a new person, or just want to try to fill a position by using a temp, temporary job placement services could be very helpful to you. If you find a temp whom you believe will suit the needs of your organization, then you can fill your position using a temp-to-hire program.
    10. Trade Shows/ConventionsThese events are a good source of information about what’s happening in your industry, introduce new products or services, and can also be a valuable networking venue. Establishing relationships with other experts helps feed your pipeline with leads when you have a position that needs to be filled. Keep track of the business cards that are given to you. While you don’t want to be too blatant with a job offer at one of these events, giving a promotional product from your organization, or at the very least your business card, could be effective in drawing the attention of a possible candidate. You never know who might be looking for a change and why, so always be on the lookout for a possible recruiting opportunity. These events also keep you fresh and in touch with hot topics and trends; being aware of these and incorporating them into your organization may be a selling point with potential employees.
    11. CompetitionIt is always a good idea to know your competition. This holds true with recruiting as well. By keeping up with trade journals, attending trade shows and seminars, and listening to customers and vendors, you can identify people from other organizations. Send word out through the industry grapevine on which positions you are hiring for. Again, you never know who might be looking for a new challenge.
    12. Job FairsIf you have a lot of positions to fill, setting up a display during a job fair could be an economical option for you. Job fairs bring together many organizations and hundreds of possible candidates. For the price of a booth fee, you can promote your organization in a general sense for future candidates and can also hunt for people to fill your specific positions.
    13. Other NetworkingAs a hiring manager, you should always be on the prowl for new talent to join your team. Being a member of charitable events, civic organizations, or other groups such as breakfast clubs is another way for you to meet and talk to people. Establishing relationships with a number of people from all different fields can be very beneficial when it comes time to hire someone new. Whether they know someone or might be interested in the position themselves, the people you meet are valuable resources for you. Talk to the people you know, and meet new people whenever you can—you’ll be surprised by the opportunities that present themselves.
    14. ConsultantsIf your organization uses consultants for certain areas within your business, ask if they know of anyone who might be interested in the position. Consultants come in contact with many people and businesses in a variety of industries and just may have a few leads for you.
    15. Other People You KnowWithin your daily routine you come in contact with many people. Your accountant, banker, doctor, dentist, mechanic, old college professor, local restaurant owner, and others are all valuable assets when it comes to recruiting. Talk to the people you know and have daily contact with in your personal or professional life. For every one of those people, another circle of contacts is possible.
    16. Student Summer JobsHiring high school or college students during the summer is a good way to introduce them to your business and also to see if they would be good hires for full-time employment in the future. As with internships, it is important that some time be given to structuring the program so that the student has a positive experience with your organization. Providing them with too much or too little work, or work that is overly redundant could turn them off to your organization and your industry in general. Make sure the program reflects the true nature of the organization and fosters good relationships with those it sponsors.
    17. InternshipsIn an increasingly tight labor market, looking to nontraditional recruiting methods will become a necessity to fill jobs in the upcoming months and years. By establishing an internship program within your organization, you are strengthening your organization in many ways. These programs enable you to get people into your organization that might otherwise not have been there or even have thought about your industry as a career choice. You can greatly raise the level of awareness about your industry, the organization, and specific positions within the organization that the student might be interested in. High schools, colleges, and universities will view the program favorably because it forges a bridge between school and work. It also will help you to establish relationships with these institutions that could be very valuable to you in the long run. Talking to teachers, guidance counselors, career centers, and professors provides you with another source of leads for potential candidates. This is an option that is not used as much as it should be. With a little planning and communication with local learning institutions, you can go a long way in growing your own talent.
    18. Niche/Contract EmployeesMany organizations are hiring niche/contract employees who specialize in a certain area to work on a particular project. These employees can prove to be very valuable. Hiring them alleviates the problem of hiring a full-time person for a project and then having extra staff after the project is over. For example, if your training department is facing an extensive restructuring of program and products, you can contract someone to come in during the timeline of the project. You may have to pay them a little more than you are paying your traditional employees, but you will save in recruiting and training costs, benefit costs, and the expense of having a redundant staff after the need is gone. Find out who specializes in the areas in which you might have a need, and get referrals from them for previous work they have done for other organizations. You might be surprised at how effective and economical this can be.
    19. Using the Internet in Recruiting EffortsIn order to position your organization and attract top performers, establishing a presence on the World Wide Web is essential in today’s market. For many people, this is the first place to turn to when considering a change in jobs. Using the Internet to recruit is very economical, and with an experienced web designer who can update your site frequently, it is a stress-free way for you to reach a lot of potential candidates.
    20. E-mailAnother tool your computer affords you is the use of e-mail. For many of us, e-mail is as essential as having a cup of coffee in the morning. It is a fast and effective means of communication and is a powerful recruiting tool. When you are searching for a new employee, send the message out to your mail list. Be sure to include all return correspondence in your message, and then wait to see who follows up with you.
  8. Chapter Three: Prepare for Your Interview
  9. Chapter Four: Conduct the Interview
  10. Chapter Five: Evaluate, Select, and Make the Offer
    1. SelectionOrganizations want to be able to identify and hire the best people for the job and the organization in a fair and efficient manner. A properly developed assessment tool may provide a way to select successful salespeople, concerned customer service representatives, and effective workers in many other occupations.
    2. PlacementOrganizations also want to be able to assign people to the appropriate job level. For example, an organization may have several managerial positions, each having a different level of responsibility. Assessment may provide information that helps organizations achieve the best fit between employees and jobs.
    3. Training and DevelopmentTests are used to find out whether employees have mastered training materials. They can help identify those applicants and employees who might benefit from either remedial or advanced training. Information gained from testing can be used to design or modify training programs. Test results also help individuals identify areas in which selfdevelopment activities would be useful.
    4. PromotionOrganizations may use tests to identify employees who possess managerial potential or higher level capabilities so that these employees can be promoted to assume greater duties and responsibilities.
  11. Chapter Six: Orient and Retain Your Employees
    1. Welcome Your New Employee•    Have a co-worker in the same department meet the new employee at the door. This might also be the same person you assign to be his or her mentor for the first few weeks. It helps to have someone specially designated to answer questions.
    2. RememberReview again the expectations that were drawn out during the interview process. It is essential that during the first week of employment you schedule a meeting to discuss expectations. Tell new employees what you expect them to do, how to do it (if certain procedures are required), and how and to whom to report. Setting down these expectations and clarifying any concerns or questions employees might have at this point will go a long way to increasing employee satisfaction.
    3. Pay FairlyThis does not mean you have to top the market you are in, but you should definitely be above the average for each position. Get feedback from employees about their satisfaction with the benefits you provide, and modify if necessary. Check area businesses to ensure your benefits offered are competitive.
    4. Analyze EnvironmentBe aware of the environment you create in your organization. What are you doing to make working at your organization a pleasant and enjoyable experience? Look at your company as though you’re seeing it for the first time. Check for evidence of the following things:
    5. Promote Your MissionMore than anything people need to know that what they do makes a difference. They need to believe that their work is worthwhile and significant. Show them how they add to the value of the organization, and be clear on what the organization stands for and is trying to accomplish.
    6. Involve and EmpowerInnovation in today’s market is essential. You never know where the best ideas will come from. Listen to your employees. They have many ideas on how to get things done more creatively, quickly, and profitably. Our workforce today is more educated and mobile. This means that they have learned a lot from other companies and might see a way to streamline your organization. To reach your potential as an organization, tap into the minds of your own employees. Encourage their ideas and the expression of them openly. Also, by encouraging, incorporating, and appropriately crediting the idea to the employee, you will create an environment of trust and teamwork.
    7. Allow for ErrorsMake room for mistakes. If people are afraid to make mistakes, they will be afraid to take risks— they’ll stay in their comfort zones forever. If you do support learning and risk-taking, remind your employees of this. Humans are usually afraid of failure. Encourage employees to look at risk and growth as positive things. In this open atmosphere, creativity will prosper.
    8. Understand Personal NeedsTreat your people very well. Pay attention to each person to determine what this means to them. Employees will have different needs at different times, and if you tune in and are aware of what they need or would appreciate most, you will establish a win-win relationship.
    9. Understand Professional NeedsTune in to your employees’ professional needs as well. Schedule regular reviews of the employee’s progress. We’ve gotten into the habit of thinking of reviews as annual salary reviews. Reviews to provide employees with valuable feedback should not just be an annual event—they should be a regular occurrence. This is also an excellent opportunity to address or offer any training needs the employee needs or wants. Review the core areas and trait areas with them, and determine together where the training time should be spent. Employees need this time to check in on their progress, review expectations, and set professional goals. Be a coach in these situations. Collaborate with them. Enable them to shape their own work, not just do their job.
  12. Appendix A: Tools and Templates
  13. Appendix B: The TotalView Assessment
  14. References
  15. Index
  16. About the Author