Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hungry For Talent? Shop Very Carefully

My mom used to have a saying: “Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.” Now that’s good advice. The meaning is simple: When you’re hungry, everything looks tempting, and you end up bringing home items you don’t really need (like jelly donuts).
This rule applies to hiring employees, too. When it comes to staffing your business, entrepreneurs should heed mom’s words of wisdom.
Finding quality employees starts with taking your time and getting to know a candidate. It’s amazing how many owners stumble through a 20-minute interview and make a hiring decision. How can you really know someone in a 20-minute interview? Would you choose a spouse in 20 minutes?
Schedule several interviews with a candidate. Take candidates to lunch and/or dinner and find out who their heroes are and what motivates them. Also, find out how satisfied they are with their lives.
This is an incredibly important characteristic. Jo-Ellan Deimitrius, in her book, “Reading People,” says this characteristic—satisfaction in life—almost always has a wide-ranging effect on how people think and how they treat others.
Employers also fail in the interview process by focusing too much on credentials. Most companies are so caught up in degrees, experience, number of computer programs conquered, etc., they forget to look closely at the human being. In some instances credentials are important, but I believe you can teach willing and able human beings almost any skill. It’s the attitude and beliefs you can’t teach. Companies should develop interview questions that provide insight to an applicant’s attitude and personality.
It times are tough and you desperately need to fill a position, take the hit. Find a creative way to get the job done while you take your time and find the right employee. Outsource work, hire a temp, offer overtime to current employees or ask your retired aunt for help. No temporary hit will be worse than the pain and suffering of a bad hire. Bad hires are frustrating and costly. Worse, they can drop down the morale of others in your company.
As one entrepreneur recently told me: “The key to hiring is simple: Hire slow and fire fast.”


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