Monthly Archive for January, 2011

Find the right person for the job: Secret Tips 11 to 20

Part 2 – How to find the right person for the job first time, train them to be a customer service machine and retain them for as long as you want…Secret tips 11 to 20 that can shift the odds in your favour…

How do you keep the good ones??

How do you keep the good ones??

There are methods and tools available which can assist in recruiting and selecting the most qualified employees available and reduce the risks of you hiring the wrong person.
Recruitment, assessment and selection are the three key steps for hiring employees. Of these, recruitment and selection are typically the most challenging for employers. The keys to finding the right candidates at the right time and hiring them are being strategic in thinking about the organization’s future.

Here are some steps you can take;

11. You’ve chosen “the one” so now it’s time to offer the position

After you have decided on the person you want to offer to position to, it is important to act quickly. Imagine deciding on the person who is perfect for the position only to have them have already taken another offer.
You want to make sure the relationship with this person starts off on a positive note rather than a bumpy or unsure one. Make sure you have all the information you need in front of you when you are making the phone call. This is the time where you will confirm the start date, time, uniform details, wage details and anything else that is important to them starting the role.
On the day the person starts make sure you have a letter that outlines all of the above. You can find many templates on the web to copy from and each state has its own government website with downloadable examples for you to use.

12. The Fine Art of Rejection – Informing Applicants of a No

It is not hard to inform applicants that that didn’t get the job in a way the keeps their self esteem intact. Have a pre-written letter informing them that they were unsuccessful (at whatever stage of the application process they got to). Even when you are delivering bad news in a letter, making sure you do this will still help raise the applicants’ view of the company even though they didn’t get the job. It is important to use the applicants name and details in the letter and have the letter signed by a real person.

13. Trial Periods – Making Sure that its “right” for both of you.

Small businesses can have a written ‘trial period’ in the employment agreement for new employees. This gives you an opportunity to make sure that the person is right for the job and also that the person likes the job. When setting up a trial period you must have an agreement with the employee before the employment starts and have it written in their employment agreement. You can have a trial period for any period up to 90 days.
Make sure that you check your state government’s website for your correct laws relating to trial periods.

14. Flexible Working Options

These include variable work arrangements such as reduced hours, variable start and finish time, parental leave options, work from home, paid time off for study or school holidays and more.

Issues to consider when reviewing a proposal or a request for flexible work options include:

• What is the need? Understand why the person needs the flexible arrangement so that the proposal can be examined with this need in mind. Knowing what the need is will help you and the team member come up with the best option for both parties.
• Come up with multiple options. Multiple options give you a way that way you can avoid an out of hand rejection. The pros and cons of all options can be considered to achieve the best outcome.
• Look at any aspects of the position which may be impacted by the change. Look at coming up with solutions to overcome these hurdles.
• Can new technology be introduced to facilitate the options?
• The employee should discuss the proposed flexible options with their direct manager to check feasibility before a final decision is made and trial period should be agreed to and implemented.

15. Employee Satisfaction Surveys – So, tell me what you “really” think…..

Employee Satisfaction Surveys are used so that owners and managers can identify areas within the business that the team feels satisfied and dissatisfied with. To ensure that staff treat the process seriously it is up to the managers and owners to communicate the results of the survey clearly back to employees. The team then needs to clearly see action being taken as a result of the survey. All actions taken need to be monitored and the end results again communicated to the team.

Any information collected should only be used for positive purposes.

Questions asked in the survey need to be carefully considered. Leading questions should not be used. It is often a good idea to consult with the team to get an idea of the topics that you are going to survey.

16. Maximising Performance
Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story. Casey Stengel
• Communicate expectation. Have a clear mission, goals, reporting structure and job descriptions. Make sure people know what they have to do, when they have to have it done by and what standard of work is required.
• Make sure people understand their role in the business and know how what they do impacts on others. Teams will usually work harder and better if they know how what they do impacts on others.
• Communicate. Nature hates a vacuum and if people aren’t receiving information they will make it up in gossip, rumor and imagination.
• No Kevin Rudd’s. Don’t micro-manage. Let people do their jobs under the direction they have been given.
• Value feedback. Allow the team to contribute to the whole process. Make sure they know they are being heard, listened to and that the feedback is acted upon.
• Empower decision making, action and ownership. You don’t want to be stuck having to be in the business 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Make sure the team functions without you even better than when you are there. That means the team must feel like they are a part of the business.
• Money is not always a motivator. Look for other ways and means of rewarding the team. Recognition of effort and performance and genuine appreciation of the team are invaluable.

17. Team Building
Team building is about learning how each person works, how each person thinks, gaining a greater appreciation of and a better understanding of each other. The end result being that the team functions and performs better in the workplace. So any activities you consider for the purposes of team building must keep that end in mind.
Team building is not a drinking session or an activity designed just for the purpose of having fun.
It is most effective if it is structured with opportunities to highlight how people think, make decisions and react. This gives people a greater insight and understanding of their fellow team members. This understanding should in turn result in better working relationships. Team building activities are also more effective when followed up by supportive activities in the workplace which allow team members to continue to develop the understanding that has resulted from the initial activity.

18. Reducing Staff Turnover

It is costly and time consuming when you lose staff and then have to rehire, so effort here is well worth the investment.

• So hire the right person in the first place.
• Make sure employees are being paid fairly and competitively.
• Appreciate and recognize employee efforts.
• Don’t over work or exploit. Make sure people get their meal breaks, rest breaks, weekends off and holidays.
• Provide opportunity for training, growth, development and promotion.
• Communicate and review performance regularly.
• Do exit interviews to define specific reasons for staff leaving and take action on these issues.

19. The Exit Interview

An exit interview is a process designed to gain feedback from employees before they leave the company for whatever reason.

The main reasons for conducting exit interviews are:
• You can get an better understanding of what all employees across the entire organisation feel about a variety of aspects in the business
• Allows you to retain key knowledge within the business.
• Helps improve the induction process for new staff,
• It can be fast and inexpensive to implement.
• Departing employees will feel better about your business because you have taken the time to get their final feedback

20. Above all, try to hire someone who is better than you!

We are only as good as our team or as strong as the weakest link in the chain. If you want your business to grow, try not to be intimidated by hiring someone who is great or has the potential to be better than you. Hire someone who has skills in an area of weakness for you. This is a great way to move your business onward and upward to the next level!

A free downloadable PDF of Part 1 and Part 2 can be found at Positive Training

Find the right person for the job: Secret Tips 1 to 10

How to find the right person for the job first time, train them to be a customer service machine and retain them for as long as you want…Secret tips 1 to 10 that can shift the odds in your favour…

Why is it so hard to find good staff??

Why is it so hard to find good staff??

One of a company’s biggest assets is, by far, its employees. As any employer can tell you, however, locating, selecting and retaining quality employees can be an almost insurmountable challenge. Depending on your demographics and industry, the difficulty level of such a task can increase exponentially.
Hire the wrong person and it could cost you. There are varying opinions on what the actual costs are for hiring the wrong person but as a rule of thumb an employee will cost you 3 to 5 times their wages. Hiring the wrong person for the job, not only costs you in wages and lost time it can also cost you in damage to customer relations, moral with the team and damage the culture of your business.
Fortunately, there are methods and tools available which can assist in recruiting and selecting the most qualified employees available and reduce the risks of you hiring the wrong person.
Recruitment, assessment and selection are the three key steps for hiring employees. Of these, recruitment and selection are typically the most challenging for employers. The keys to finding the right candidates at the right time and hiring them are being strategic in thinking about the organization’s future.

Here are some steps you can take;

1. Understand what you really Need and Want,

As the old saying goes “You get what you ask for”

Before you even consider advertising for your new team member it is important to know exactly what your business needs in a new employee. Take a look at what resources and people you currently have, what their strengths and weaknesses are and identify any gaps in your team.

There are many personality profiling tools available on the internet for free. Personality profiles are a great tool you can use that will reduce your own subjectivity. It is a normal human trait to want to hire people that we “get on with” rather than someone who is the best person for the job. Myer Briggs and DISC are two such tools that may help.

It is not wrong to “want” a certain type of person for the job, just knowing what you want before you start looking will give you a great head start.

Some areas to consider are;

• The Culture of your organisation, what sort of personality would be a good fit?
• What sort of values and morals do you want in your team members?
• Communication, what works and what doesn’t work in communication styles with other team members, suppliers and customers?
• The degree of flexibility team members need to have to “fit” with how you do things.

There are many other areas you could consider, you need to work out what is important to you and write out your own list.

2. Write a Job Description

If you don’t know what the position requires how will your new team member know?

After looking at what you really want in a person and what the business needs you will probably have a good idea of what the role entails. Write out your answers to the following questions, this will give you a good basis of your selection criteria. Take your time to write out your answers in detail. Every answer will give you more clarity and go a long way to weeding out inappropriate applications saving you time and ultimately money.

What are the tasks, responsibilities and key accountabilities involved in the role?
What competencies and knowledge are necessary for the role?
What are some of the challenges of the role?
Are there any opportunities available for the person taking on this role?

3. Writing a Job Ad that stands out to potential employees for all the right reasons

Writing a job ad that attracts the right people is no different to writing ads that attract customers who want to buy!
AIDA is an acronym used in marketing that describes a common list of events needed to occur when a person is selling a product or service:
• A – Attention (Awareness): attract the attention of the customer, in this case a new employee.
• I – Interest: raise interest by focusing on and demonstrating advantages and benefits (what’s in it for them)
• D – Desire: convince them that they want and desire the product or service (Job) and that it will satisfy their needs.
• A – Action: lead customers (applicants) towards taking action and/or purchasing (applying for the job).
You have already determined the perfect candidate for the position. You have already worked out the personality type, skills, education and experience you are looking for in a person and have it all clearly defined. When you are writing your ad make sure you are writing to this clearly defined person in a language that matches.

Use a Headline to catch the attention of your audience. Use sub headings to assist your structure and to highlight key areas. If you are stuck for a great headline, search Google for some inspiration.

Include the benefits you provide, make it clear why the best candidates should apply. What’s in it for them?

Filter out unsuitable candidates by including the non-negotiables. For example if candidates must have a specific education level or be able to work every Saturday night, include it in the ad and save yourself time speaking with people who are never going to be available for that Saturday night shift.

Include a powerful call to action to encourage the best candidates to apply and apply now. In your call to action give some instructions on what you would like them to do. You could have them email their cover letter and resume to you and anyone who doesn’t attach a cover letter is automatically disqualified. This is a good way to see if your candidates are able to follow instructions.

4. Where to Advertise. Putting your Ad where potential employees are…

Depending on the nature of the position you are trying to fill, your options are virtually limitless. This is especially true if you are in the market for employees who do not need special skills or training. Often, employers in the service, hospitality or customer service industries can find perfectly adequate employees simply by posting ads on the bulletin boards frequently seen by the general population or even specialized demographics like students or retirees.

Some of your main options are:

Using a recruitment agency can get your positioned filled with a quality candidate fast and won’t take much effort on your behalf but it will cost you money.

Put an Ad in the local paper. This will targets local candidates and will be cheaper than using an agency, but can still be expensive and will take time as often ads only appear once per week.

Metropolitan or national papers provide a much wider distribution so very good in attracting for a hard to fill position. If you are a small business owner this can be a very expensive option that could be targeting someone who lives too far from your catchment area.

Online, such as can be quick as the ads are up immediately and are visible 24/7. Can be cost effective but you are left to do all the admin and follow up.

Social networking, such as Facebook is free but can take time to be effective and you must have good networks in place.

Traditional networking is free, more personal and can be done while multi-tasking (ie looking for clients and suppliers). It can however be slow to produce results.

Company website is free but you need to have a good site in place and high volume of traffic and even then it may be slow to produce results.

Job networks can be cost effective and may even put money back in your pocket due to government incentives.

5. Let the Games begin…. Short listing your applicants

There is no right number of candidates to put into a shortlist. The final number will be determined by the nature of the position and the number and quality of the applicants.

When short-listing make sure all the information concerning each candidate is considered.
Other than the candidate meeting the key selection criteria there are a number of other factors which should be considered.

The first is spelling, grammar, presentation and general attention to detail. This will give you a quick indication of the calibre of the applicant. If there is not a cover letter with the application then it shows no effort and is likely from an unqualified resume spammer hoping to get lucky.

Always request a cover letter and reject applications without one.

Look for an effort from the applicant to have customised their resume and application to meet the advertised position. No effort shows no desire to obtain the position, laziness and therefore is probably not the type of person you want in your team. Also look for any employment gaps in their resume, decreasing levels of responsibility, multiple employers in a short time period and a lack of recent referees. This could indicate a person who doesn’t stay in a role long enough for you to get a return on your investment in recruiting and training them.

Telephone interviews can be used on the short list to set up appointments for an interview. Questions can be asked during the telephone interview to confirm, experience, education, referees, desired income. If the candidate’s answers don’t meet your requirements they don’t pass through to the next stage.

6. The Pre-Interview (Saving you a stack of time)

A pre-interview questionnaire can be used to gather more information about the candidate and supplement the three main forms of information gathering (resume, referees and the interview).

It is an opportunity to find out more about the candidate, ask them specific questions and have all the information documented.

It saves you time because the candidate completes the activity without you. It can help you reduce the number of interviews to be done by eliminating further unsuitable matches. It allows you to get customised, thought-out and planned responses to specific questions relating exactly to the position being offered.

The downside is that it takes time firstly to develop the questionnaire and secondly to read the responses. People can also embellish their answers so the responses need to be checked in the interview.

7. Interview Styles & Techniques

Have a panel of interviewers. One person cannot pick up the candidates answers, read body language and provide objectivity. Have a set structure and ask the same questions to all candidates. Assess the answers given against a set of predetermined criteria. Have a predetermined standard to judge each answer given (for example rate a response from 1 to 10 or rate it as below average, average, good or excellent).

Ask behavioural questions to find out how they would respond in a common situation in the proposed role.

Ask for examples of how they have responded to situations in the past. For example; “Give me an example of a time when you have had to deal with a difficult customer”.

Test essential skills in the interview. For example if you are hiring a cook get them to demonstrate their skills in the kitchen.

8. 5 MUST ask questions when you are interviewing

1. Ask a rapport builder to ease the candidate’s nerves for example “Wasn’t the weather great on the weekend or what did you get up to last weekend?”
2. Find out about their past performance “Tell me about a time when you have overcome hurdles in your work life or school life if they are younger interviewees”.
3. Get a sense of why they want to join your organisation and if their values match those of the organisation “Why did you apply for this position?” or “what did you notice in our advertisement that made you want to apply for a job with us?”
4. See how they handle the unexpected and find out how they think “How many aeroplanes are flying over Australia right now and explain how you came up with your answer?”
5. Ask a behavioural question that tests judgment and decision making “How would you deal with a team member whose work is OK but you think has the potential to do a lot better?” or “what would you do if you knew that a team member who you had a great relationship with was stealing from the business?”

9. Points on how to check on references and speak with referees effectively

• Always introduce yourself.
• Make sure you talk to the correct person. Did they supervise the candidate and if so for how long and when?
• Ask if it is convenient for the person to speak candidly with you.
• Emphasise confidentiality.
• Check information provided in the resume, letter of application and during the interview, with the referee.
• Ask them to describe the role the applicant performed in their organisation.
• Ask them why the person left.
• Ask specific questions about their management style, experience, judgement and skills.
• Follow up on any concerns you might have had from the interview.
• Ask them if they would re-employ the person if they were given the opportunity

10. Do a second interview

A second interview can be used to make sure both parties know for sure whether the fit is correct or not. The applicant can be a little more relaxed having met you previously and gives them the opportunity to show you more of themselves without the nerves taking over.

This interview may be conducted by 2-4 people and will usually include one of the interviewers from the first round. Although do remember that the more people there are interviewing the more intimidating it can be for the applicants. The interview should remain friendly, professional and informal.

Issues such as wages, future opportunities, training requirements, restraints, travel, work hours, bonus schemes and potential start dates should be discussed at this point. If there are any particular issues that need to be raised by the applicant, such as an impending wedding soon after a likely start date, this is the time they should be raised.

A free downloadable PDF of Part 1 and Part 2 can be found at Positive Training

Photo by John McKay.