Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2 Ways to Minimize Costly Hiring Mistakes

No matter how solid the business plan, it's simply hard to execute it without good people. Yet one of the biggest challenges we faced in our family business was in the area of hiring, in particular hiring sales and customer service reps. Literally we lost hundreds of thousands over the years due to bad hires, let alone the mental stress we experienced due to it.

Many of the candidates looked good, sounded good, seemed to have the right skills and experience, yet didn't work out. Not only was it costly in-terms of money lost, it was also tiring because of all the hours lost that went into training and getting them up to speed. Over the years, I gained important insights which I'll share with you here, to help you make better hiring decisions.

While we can't bat 100%, though we like to, I like to share two suggestions that will help you increase your batting average.

1. Use Personality Profiles

The one I use is called TriMetrix and it looks at individuals through 3 different lenses. The assessment identifies, objectively and neutrally, behavioral strengths and blind spots, what the individual focuses on, as well as what moves 'em into action. If you find there is a significant gap between what you need and what this individual has to offer, inspite of their experience and skills, I would think seriously before making the hire. This small investment upfront can save you literally thousands of dollars, as well as your valuable time and energy. Not using this in my judgment is penny wise, pound foolish.

2. Ask These 4 Essential Questions

In the interview, questions often revolve around skills and experience. While these are important, they alone are not enough. For example, just because someone was successful in sales at another organization doesn't mean they'll succeed in yours. There are many factors that lead to success. Therefore, in addition to the usual questions, I would also ask the following types of questions:

A. What are some of your values, guiding principals? You want to look for a reasonably close match to ensure their values match to your organizations.

B. What's your vision for your own life? In other words, probe to learn what matters to them, what do they want to create, how do they enjoy spending their time, what motivates them, what their dreams are.

C. How do you see this job, this role, helping you live the life you want, helping you make your dreams come true?

D. Share with them your vision, your values, who you serve, why your clients do business with you. Also share openly some of the challenges people in your company currently face. Then ask the interviewee this question: Given what I have shared with you, how do you see yourself fitting into this organization?

It's important to hire people who get excited by your vision and connect with your values. The greater the match, the greater the chances of success. And it's not just for your own benefit but also the benefit of candidates. When bad hiring happens, both suffer. By investing time upfront to ensure good fit, everyone wins.

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