Kantor column: Hiring the right employee

It's time again to hire another employee. The last one you hired turned out to be a real "ditz." This time, you are bound and determined to hire the "right" person.

Just about every manager can think of one employee, (usually more) they never should have hired. Many managers just don't know how to hire, simply because they've never been trained to.

There are many mistakes that can be made in hiring someone. However, you can make smarter decisions and hire the "right" people by following these steps.

Make job descriptions complete. The position should be well defined. If you are not specific then you really won't know what you are looking for in an employee. List not only the duties and responsibilities, but what the employee would be expected to accomplish. For instance, "Will increase accounts receivable collections by 10 percent within six months."

A list of six to eight performance expectations would serve as a good guide in evaluation of potential employees.

Give yourself a wide selection. Don't just use website ads. Find job candidates from many resources. Current employees are often good resources. Other resources are employment agencies, conventions, seminars, competitors, and business colleagues. These sources are more reliable because they can relate to your situation and help you narrow down to qualified candidates

Interview potential employees thoroughly. Before you can make a good hiring decision you need to sharpen your interviewing skills. Prepare an interview agenda that follows the interviewee from education to the present. Then use open-ended questions that keeps them talking most of the time. Make sure you take notes.

Match qualifications. Just because a person is outstanding in one area, doesn't mean they will be outstanding in another. For instance, a salesperson who breaks all the sales records may not be a good sales manager. You will need to look beyond expertise in one area.

Pay attention to your intuition. Everyone has feelings about the people they work with. How you feel about the person you are interviewing can be a helpful indicator in your hiring decision. Check their references. Employers often do not check any of the applicants' references.

And when they do check they usually only check one. The belief is that they won't find out much anyway. I mean, would they put anyone on their reference list that would bad-mouth them? However, checking references can help you verify your applicants' abilities. Try asking your applicant's reference for the name of one more person who has worked with the applicant. You will usually get genuine feedback from peers.

If you will actively take these steps in interviewing, you will have an advantage in the "art of hiring." You will be able to find the "right" people for the "right" job.

Jan Kantor is a Southwest Florida business consultant and executive coach. For more information, or to contact him regarding workplace solutions, his website is www.jankantor.com.

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