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Higher Hiring

November 27, 2009

Most definitions of management share the viewpoint that good management is a process of reaching goals by working with and through people. That being the case, choosing your team is the first step to success. Make sure that you get the best people available.

Aim high when you hire. Recruitment and hiring are areas in which a company can substantially improve its performance with very little effort. Getting good people to work for you has the special benefit of becoming an annuity that regularly pays future dividends.

There is hardly a top manager around who does not profess that his or her employees are their business’s most important asset. In reality however, the importance of the human resource still has a long way to go. For example, given a choice between two pieces of equipment which perform the same work, one costing $5000.00 more than the other, most managers will hesitate and investigate the performance advantages of the higher priced machine. Given the same choice between two applicants for the same position, most employers will much more quickly choose the candidate with the lower price tag. Managers have generally learned their lessons about the value of their physical assets better than they have learned their lessons about their human resource assets.

Approach the hiring process from a position of strength. As a result of the great impact that small business has had on the economy in recent years and the instability of many larger firms, small business is recognized as a great place to work.

It is important to anticipate what your personnel needs will be. Too often the hiring process begins after a vacancy has been created. You then have to operate under the pressure of having an immediate need to fill. This inevitably leads to a process that is rushed, incomplete and has a low probability of yielding the best candidate. Regardless of the short term pressures, don’t rush a decision with long term consequences.

It is always a good practice to look within your organization for someone who is qualified. This person won’t always exist and if he or she does, it will create another opening that will eventually need to be filled from the outside.

If you currently have a good group of employees, referrals should be your single best source of qualified applicants. Don’t be passive above tapping this resource. Actively solicit your employees input. Let them know what you are looking for and let them know that you appreciate their input.

Newspaper ads and ex-employees are additional sources. Take the time to write your ads carefully. Ads that supply insufficient information attract inappropriate responses that only waste time. Don’t overlook ex-employees. While it generally was a common practice not to rehire anyone that left a company, that is now recognized to have been an overly restrictive policy with little benefit.

When it comes time to interview, be flexible in adjusting to the schedule of the job seekers. Remember that the best candidates may already be employed. As a prospective employer you should value the applicant who is reluctant to take time off from their current position.

For the purpose of comparing candidates, it is helpful to schedule a block of interviews at one time. Take the time necessary to meet with all the qualified applicants. You may find a good one early on, but a better one may lie ahead. Observe good interview techniques. Make the applicant comfortable, ask open ended questions, look for consistency and patterns of behavior and provide an opportunity for questions.

Reference checking usually begins at about the time that your mind is already made up. This is your last opportunity to get important information prior to making a major decision. Make sure you do it.

Don’t waste your time at the personnel department. Get in touch with the supervisors and co-workers that had direct contact with your leading candidate. Imagine buying a shining late model used car. After a satisfactory test drive and having negotiated a fair price, you are given an opportunity to speak to the people who have driven the car for the last two years. Can you imagine not bothering to call them? You would fully deserve any problems that developed.

If employees are a company’s most important asset, it is the responsibility of the boss to be actively involved in the hiring process. Make certain that you welcome each new employee to your company and personally tell them what you expect from them.

After the effort that you have put into the hiring process, don’t forget to follow-up with proper training and close supervision of the new employee. Regardless of how effective your selection process is, there will be some employees that are not appropriate for your business. For the benefit of those individuals and your business, recognize and remedy those situations promptly.

Many a game is won or lost when the teams are chosen. Because it’s your business, make the effort and take the time to aim high when you hire.

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