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Making Successful Hires

Making Successful Hires

This is a good problem for small business owners to have – your company is growing and you have to add staff. If you’re an entrepreneur, you may be making your first hire. That may pose a challenge. Where do you begin?

You need to know what you’re looking for before you can find something.

Hiring the right people is no different. In fact, before hiring anyone, you have to find candidates, select the right person, and let them know about the job and your company.

It begins knowing the work that needs to be done – the job(s) you need people to fill. What are the requirements and the skills needed to do each of those jobs. Once you have clear understanding of the role each person will play, you can start to search for them.

Where do you find them? You have to advertise the job. You can post each position on your company’s website and put notices on social media sites like LinkedIn. If you are seeking individuals in a certain profession, for example engineering, consider professional organizations in your community. Often they have career pages on their websites where you may be able to post your openings.

Once you receive responses to your openings, review each one to see how many of the job’s requirements each person meets. Don’t expect to find perfect matches. Prioritize the responses based on how closely each person comes to what the job requires. Depending on the number of résumés you’ve received, narrow the pool down – no more than the top 10 who best meet your requirements.

Contact each candidate to set up a screening interview. You can conduct these interviews via phone or platforms such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom or FaceTime. This gives you the opportunity to confirm information on their résumé and ask questions to narrow the pool further, if necessary. Some questions you can ask are:

  • Why are you in job market now?
  • What was it about our job announcement that caused you to apply?
  • When are you available to start a new position?
  • Briefly describe your last or current job responsibilities.

Before you conclude the interview, let each person know the next step in your process: “We’re screening candidates now and will decide by the 15th who we would like to further interview. We’ll keep you informed throughout the process.” Keep all candidates informed so they have a positive impression of your company. They’ll appreciate it, even if they don’t receive an in-person interview. You never know, they may be a good fit for a future opportunity.

Bring the top candidates in for an in-person interview. When you schedule the interview, let them know what will occur – who they will be meeting and how long they can expect the interview to last.

Prepare questions ahead of time, Make them open ended and applicable to the job. For example:

  • Tell me about a time when you…
  • Give me an example of when…
  • Walk me through…
  • Describe for me…

You can continue to get more information by using probes such as:

  • How did you do that?
  • What did you do with that information?
  • What did you learn from that experience?
  • Tell me more about…
  • How so?

Interviews aren’t just about getting information from the candidate. It’s the opportunity for you to provide information to them as well. While you’re trying to decide among a number of potential employees, candidates are making decisions about potential employers. Use this opportunity to talk about your company culture. Tell them about your values and the behaviors that reflect them.

Let each candidate know about the role and job duties, and what success in the role looks like. Explain:

  • How the job supports the company’s goals and other jobs
  • Why the job is important
  • What successful outputs and results are and the impact they have on the company and its customers

Equipped with the information from the interviews, you can now select the candidate who best fits the position’s needs and the needs of your company. Now you can make a job offer and hire the person.

When you need to add staff, you want to be sure that you are making the best hire for your company. If you take time to prepare in advance, you’ll increase your chances of making a successful hire – someone who will stay and help you to further grow your company!


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by Cornelia Gamlem // Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell are the co-authors of THE MANAGER'S ANSWER BOOK: Powerful Tools to Maximize Your Impact and Influence, Build Trust and Teams, and Respond to Challenges .

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.