LOOK FOR A GOOD FIT WITHIN YOUR TEAM
When looking to add a member to your team, you must first look around you. Then, take a moment to think about your company’s culture. Does your candidate line up with this culture? Does it seem like they would work well with your existing team? Adding an employee incompatible with your current group can cause company-wide issues and lower morale. After the interview, if you’d like to move forward with the candidate, walk them around the building and introduce them to as many employees as possible.
Gaining a solid understanding of the candidate’s goals can also help you decide whether or not they’ll be a good fit. For example, are they looking for a long-time home, or is this just a stepping stone? Will they buy into your methods and take ownership of their role, or have they been stuck in their ways around the block? If you take the time to invest in this candidate, make sure their goals align with the success of your organization.
WRITE A BETTER JOB DESCRIPTION
The following job description for an HVAC Technician was pulled from a job board in its entirety:
You ABSOLUTELY want to work here!
The only thing I know about this position is that I ABSOLUTELY have more questions! What kind of benefits are offered? What shift? What’s the pay range? Is this an hourly or salaried position? If hourly, is OT required? What experience is needed? What is expected of me?
An effective job post will answer all of those questions and more. At a minimum, after a candidate reads your job post, they should have a rough idea of the pay range, the job description, and any benefits offered. In addition, they should understand what qualities you desire and what skills are required.
Just make sure your job description contains the following information
- Main duties
- Desired qualifications
- Pay range
- Sign on bonus if applicable
- Benefits information
- Insurance, retirement, vehicle, phone
- Schedule/shift information
If a candidate has to ask these questions in an interview, they’re taking away from the time you should be spending getting to know them. So make sure they know what to expect before sitting in front of you.
CONSIDER ALTERNATIVE EVALUATIONS
In a perfect world, we could see how someone would perform at their job before hiring them. Unfortunately, the concept of time travel has yet to come to fruition at the time of writing this blog. Instead, pre-employment assessments and screenings can provide some insight! The benefits here are twofold. First, it allows you to narrow down your list of prospects. You may find that they aren’t going to work out based on answers to these questions. Second, it allows you to understand the candidate’s thoughts before sitting down.
Some of these questions should be simple and easy to answer:
- If you’re in an accident in a work truck, what do you do?
- If a customer insults you, what do you do?
Others should make the candidate think and may provide insight on their decision-making skills under pressure:
- The amount of pitch on a drainage pipe is ¼ per foot. If your pipe run is 33 feet long, how many inches of pitch would you need?
- Copper tubing comes in 20 ft lengths. How many 50″ pieces can you cut from one size?
I was once hiring for a bookkeeper in a previous role. On paper, I found an ideal candidate who was the perfect match for the position. She was well-versed in the software, had great recent experience, and had excellent written and verbal communication skills. She passed a skill assessment with flying colors, and our in-person interview was a pleasant experience. Finally, I was convinced I had my next bookkeeper.
Before calling her to offer her the position, I checked her references. Of the three listed, I couldn’t contact any of them initially. One of them was her previous boss, so I did some research on the company to try and find contact information. I was shocked by what I found.
The first name of the old boss matched, but the last name did not. The company’s name was slightly different, but this candidate came from a niche industry, and I could find the company in question without a doubt. I spoke to the boss, and he couldn’t have been more surprised to hear from me. The woman I was about to hire had allegedly stolen over $30,000 from this company and departed without speaking to the owner. I didn’t offer her the position!
While this may be unique, the opposite may also be true! For example, you may call a reference who can tell you something great about a candidate who didn’t come up in an interview. Make it a practice to require references when receiving an application and take the time to speak with those references.
ON A RELATED NOTE – HIRE SLOW, FIRE FAST
Sometimes, even after vetting and training a new employee, you’ll find that they aren’t a good fit for the team. While it may have taken you weeks to invest in this person, the decision to terminate them shouldn’t be dragged out that long. While “Hire slow, fire fast” might seem like an insensitive adage, it’s more compassionate than the alternative.
One of two things is likely valid if an employee is a bad fit. Either they’re struggling in their role, unhappy, or both. If you’ve ever had to cover for a coworker out of their depth consistently, you would know first-hand how productivity can suffer. If you’ve ever worked around someone who doesn’t want to be there, you understand what kind of drag on morale this can have. Think about the impact this will have on your team. Firing fast means not letting those productivity issues and negative vibes interfere with the culture you’ve worked so hard to build.
You have to realize that you can’t force a good fit. It’s not sustainable or productive to leave an underperforming employee in their role, only to continue criticizing them when they slip up. Every team member deserves your honest feedback, even if that feedback ultimately results in their separation from the company.