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8 Vital Steps for Making the Right Hire in Small Businesses

In response to my post the other day on the SKATE Hiring Model a good friend and trusted colleague, expert in the recruiting and hiring industry, reminded me that I was only offering part of the hiring prodonzinncess. He offered to supply us with his 8 Steps to an Effective Hiring Process.

So, I gladly accepted his offer and while on vacation am pleased to have Don Zinn, Exective Vice-President of Jobplex, as my guest blogger.


Bad hires can kill your year – and your small business.

Making matches is never going to be easy, but you need to find a way to get better at it – and counting on a string of good luck does not qualify.

The solution is to create a process model that you and your employees understand and follow. That process model can be different in every company, but it needs to have the following component parts to have the potential for success.

  1. Definition: Define the position, in detail.
  2. Outline: Outline who the position reports to, his or her peers, and subordinates.
  3. Find the “Customer”: Understand who the “customer” of this position is. (For example, if you are filling a receptionist position, his or her “customers” would be your employees and the customers and prospects who call or visit.)
  4. Ideal Candidate Profile: Using the input from the above, create an ideal candidate profile. Keep in mind, the same position may have different behavioral requirements based on the candidate’s supervisor and subordinates. For example, your Western Regional Sales Manager may be very high level, unstructured and not into details, while your Eastern Regional Sales manager might be a micro-manager. The ideal candidate profile for the west will be different from the east. Make sure you understand that before you start the interview process.
  5. Experience Review: Make sure the candidates you choose to interview have the experience you feel is required, and the ability to learn the subtleties of your business. Every business is different – and the ability to learn is the single most critical success skill.
  6. Behavioral Assessment: Once you have determined the “skill fit” spend the rest of your selection process dealing with the “behavioral fit.” Use a behavioral analysis tool of some kind. Either create a simple checklist you match to the ideal candidate profile that contains the behavioral attributes you believe are critical to success, or use automated tools that deliver to your fingertips the equivalent of hours and hours of psychological evaluations.
  7. Group Interview: Make sure group interviewers are asking different questions and gaining unique perspectives. What is the purpose of doing the same interview, with the same questions, four times? That isn’t four different perspectives; it is one perspective four times.
  8. Ensure a Proper Fit: Don’t fall in love. Make sure the candidate fits with the customer he or she will serve, team members, and manager. If any one of those three is even a yellow light – force it to become either red or green. If you have anything less than three green lights, do not consider making the candidate an offer.

Hiring is always a minefield. It is a hugely rewarding task with incredible risks associated with it. For any business, hiring the right people is a critical success factor. For small and medium businesses, hiring the wrong people is a critical failure factor.

Take the time to do it right. Build the interview process model. Get yourself the tools your team needs. Avoid critical failures and make the right hire the first time.


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Thanks, Don, for filling in while I’m away.

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