JOBS, just like unhappy marriages, can also end in "divorce". If any "unhappily employed" people work for you, you know the problem is expensive to fix.
So, why don't companies invest more to find and keep good employees? Proper recruiting and interviewing pays high dividends. A comprehensive hiring programme lets managers increase the depth of their talent pool and select the best.
To maximise your hiring results, you need to focus on who you really want. This includes a candidate's job responsibilities and how he or she will complement your existing team and your vision and values. Once you have defined the position and appropriate qualities and skills, the search is on!
However, a frustrating aspect of the hiring process was best described by a manager who said: "I am supposed to find out everything about everyone, but I can't ask them anything."
Here is how to use some unorthodox methods to ease your frustration and increase your hiring percentage.
1. Recruiting strategy
The process starts with recruiting: always be on the lookout for talented people and use unconventional sources.
A discouraged restaurant owner approached me after a presentation and said: "I place want ads every week and can't find dishwashers for my restaurants."
We tried a different tactic - index cards were placed on bulletin boards in laundromats within walking distance to his restaurants. They were written in English, Spanish and Vietnamese with directions to his establishment. Four candidates showed up the next day - one with his own rubber gloves!
Today it takes tenacity, creativity and tweaking of your existing systems to find great employees.
2. The 'knockout question'
The next step is the interview. List targeted questions for the first and each subsequent interview to keep track of what you have asked. Assign different people to ask appropriate questions and cover salient issues as you dig deeper into the prospects' qualifications at different phases of the interview.
One of your most powerful tools is the "knockout question", designed to eliminate someone who can't perform the job. I experienced this type of question once, ending an interview in five minutes.
After a couple of warm-up questions, the interviewer casually asked how I felt about heights. As my palms started to sweat, I asked her to explain. She said the position required meeting clients at the top of skyscrapers under construction - no windows, no walls!
"Thank you for your time," I said, and I left! Why bother asking me about my greatest strength only to discover my fear of heights later?
Sometimes the candidate might lie just to get the job, hoping to change the conditions once hired. To eliminate this situation, you can fine-tune your knockout questions.
The interviewer asks: "Will you travel or work weekends?" The candidate's response is, "Yes, or whatever it takes to get the job done." But you really don't know the truth.
Another way to craft the question is to describe the job and ask: "How much travel do you think would be needed for this job?" If the interviewee says: "Three days a month would be needed," and the job requires travel three days a week, you have the wrong candidate.
3. The tested question
Another type of question is the "payoff" or "tested" question. A construction company that builds everything from corporate campuses to amusement park rides seems to have mastered this type of question.
When interviewing site managers, the company stresses client relations. In addition to functional qualifications and management responsibilities, the right person must liaise with Fortune 500 clients.
The interviewer simply says: "We believe in customer delight." If candidates roll their eyes or flash a look that says: "This is one of those warm-and-fuzzy companies," they just blew it!
The company discovered the statement by accident and finds that it is a better indicator than 100 questions about customer service.
Hiring great people is one of the most powerful yet overlooked retention tools. Good associates are exhilarated and eager to work with other good people. Involve your employees in the process, seek their advice, and watch your retention rates increase.
Remember, people judge you by the company you keep and your organisation judges you by the people you hire. Maybe hiring the right person is not as important as marrying the right one, but if you don't, it can make for a miserable relationship.